A Whole Foods Expert Says THIS Is The Next Big Food Trend

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.

For this season, here are 10 of our favorite products featuring maple right now, at Whole Foods and beyond.

Some of most popular maple products at Whole Foods are available year-round, like Justin's nut butters flavored with maple.

Justin's Maple Almond Butter, $13.99, available at Whole Foods.
Maple can be used both as a sweetener and to add flavor to baked goods.

Red Velvet Maple Pecan Cupcakes Baking Kit, $28, available at Red Velvet.
Layden says the trends team is also noticing an increased use of maple in cocktails. You can be an at-home mixologist by using maple syrup in your drinks or try this unique maple sugar that can also be used in baking and cooking.

Crown Maple Maple Sugar, $16.95, available from New York Makers.
Layden also noted an increased interest in high-quality artisanal maple syrup, much in the way we think of really nice balsamic vinegars or oils.

Bobo's Mountain Syrup Vermont Dark Maple Syrup, $19.95, available at Mouth.
Cheddar cheese and Vermont go hand in hand. So does maple and Vermont. Both come together in this cheese, smoked with maple hardwood to give it a slightly sweet, campfire flavor.

Grafton Village Maple Smoked Cheddar, $6.48 available at Jet.
Maple also works well as a glaze for meats and veggies. Kick it up a notch (literally) with a spicy syrup.

Bushwick Kitchen Tree's Knees Spicy Maple Syrup, $16, available at Food52.
Part of maple's popularity is also due to the fact that it's nostalgic. You don't have to have a stack of pancakes for breakfast every morning to get that nostalgic kick, though.

Noosa Maple Ginger Noosa Mates, $2.49, available at Whole Foods.
Maple cream is another one of our favorite ways to enjoy the flavor.

Trader Joe's Maple Leaf Cookies, $3.29, available at Trader Joe's.
Maple bacon is nothing new, but maple bacon on the go is an innovation we can get behind.

Chef's Cut Maple Bacon Jerky, $6.10, available at Amazon.
And speaking of maple bacon, Kettle's maple bacon chips are basically brunch in a bag.

Kettle Maple Bacon Chips, $2.69, available at Thrive Market.
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