As the days get shorter and the sound of each crisp breeze rustling through the trees seems to whisper, “pumpkin spice,” it’s time to shine a light on the other fall flavors that consumers crave.
Because there is more to fall than pumpkin spice.
Caramel has fall vibes, too.
Chick-fil-A added a Caramel Crumble Milkshake to its menu for the fall season this year. Available until November 11, the butterscotch caramel-flavored milkshake is billed as “the perfect way to treat yourself to the fall feels.”
Likewise, Carl’s Jr. is introducing a Salted Caramel Pretzel Shake, capitalizing on a classic sweet and savory combination that is supremely fall.
Case in point, among Starbucks’ fall flavors lineup is the return of Salted Caramel Mocha, available to order in-store, online, and hitting grocery store shelves nationwide in K-Cup pods and coffee grounds.
Of course, pumpkin spice is Starbucks’ quintessential fall staple, but Salted Caramel Mocha is a fan-favorite in its own right. When Starbucks omitted Salted Caramel Mocha from the fall drink menu in 2021, dismayed fans started a petition on Change.org to bring the drink back. “This is a fall favorite, bring Salted Caramel Mocha home,” wrote one concerned customer.
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf must have received the memo, as the Southern California brand added a Salted Caramel Mocha latte to its menu for the first time this fall.
It’s also the season of dynamic pairings.
“We are sure to see all the familiar favorites like apple and pumpkin rise to the top of consumers’ consideration sets this fall, but what’s most interesting is the rise of dynamic pairings,” Tracy DeCarlo, Director of Category Solutions at Daymon, a private brand consultant company, told The Food Institute.
“Overall, we are seeing a shift from brands centering on one key flavor to dynamic pairing profiles, such as from apple to apple cinnamon crisp,” DeCarlo explained.
SpotOn, a restaurant software and payments provider, has seen 684 pear items added to menus, 419 pecan items, and 401 maple menu additions since July 8th. However, these ingredients often don’t stand alone—they are added to menus as part of a unique flavor combination.
For example, Dunkin’ brought back its Maple Sugar Bacon for fall, now available in two different formats. Customers can enjoy it on a breakfast sandwich or take a more direct approach by ordering the Maple Sugar Snackin’ Bacon, which includes eight snack-sized pieces of bacon coated in maple sugar seasoning and served in a to-go sleeve.
And for those who prefer to drink their maple sugar, Tim Hortons has debuted a Maple Cinnamon Sugar Latte, available hot, iced, or as a cold brew.
And let’s not underestimate apples.
Datassential’s fall trends report identified apple as a top-10 seasonal flavor around the globe, according to Hormel Foods.
Armed with this information, Hormel Foods’ Planters brand has released new Apple Cider Donut Cashews for fall. Kettle roasted and flavored with notes of apple and cinnamon, these autumnal nuts will be available for a limited time at retailers nationwide.
Meanwhile, My/Mochi, which makes ice cream wrapped in pillowy rice dough, has announced Apple Pie á La Mode as one of its new fall flavors.
Each 80-calorie pre-portioned snack will have a soft cinnamon spice apple filling in the center of vanilla ice cream, encased in chewy mochi dough.