Is there such a thing as peak pumpkin spice? These days, you're likely to find it in everything, from the classic latte all the way to cough drops and candles. So, when we started seeing maple popping up more and more foods (yes, including lattes), we wondered if the rise of maple was a sign of the decline of pumpkin spice.
Not so fast, says Jenna Layden, a member of the Whole Foods product development team. While we are in a pumpkin spice-saturated market, we aren't seeing the flavor's swan song. She works closely with buyers and trend forecasters to keep Whole Foods' offerings in sync with what consumers want. She says that while they have yet to see a significate decrease in interest in pumpkin spice, maple is indeed on the rise — and pumpkin spice is partially the reason. An overall increased interest in fall flavors in a wider array of products, from cookies to butter to ice cream, means shoppers are more likely to pick something flavored with maple up as well.
Another reason for maple's increased popularity? Layden credits the use of the mineral-rich syrup as an alternative to traditional sweeteners like cane sugar, as well as the fact that it pairs well with a lot of other seasonal flavors, like gingerbread.
"It will always be really hard to replace pumpkin spice," she says, but maple is nevertheless a strong contender. "We have seen, for the last five years an increase in product launches with maple the trend is growing." She compares maple's popularity now to where pumpkin spice was five years ago. In other words, get used to seeing it more and more; Layden is already hard at work looking at what new products Whole Foods will offer in fall 2018.