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CPG Brands Compete For Cart Space With Pumpkin Spiced Products

October 16, 2020 Melissa Ledesma

CPG brands are striving for cart space as they battle for consumer attention and loyalty. As happens every fall, major brands like Kraft, Hostess and STōK have introduced pumpkin flavored products to grocery shelves to attract new audiences, boost engagement and drive sales this fall.

As Consumers Seek Comfort, Food Brands Continue Leveraging The Popularity Of Pumpkin Spice

Shutterstock-505354150 Pumpkin spice latte with whipped cream on wooden table

After peaking in 2016, the current global pandemic is contributing to a resurgence in the interest for all things pumpkin spice. According to Google search trends, consumers searching for pumpkin spice are up 5% compared to 2019 and 11% compared to 2018. 

According to Modernrestaurant.com, pumpkin spice has become a staple flavor that represents comfort, relaxation, warmth and nostalgia. Brand manager at flavor company Monin Jane Noel said, “People like consistency in turbulent times, so the usual pumpkin spice offerings will be a welcome sight to customers this year. We are certain people will continue to crave the comfort of pumpkin in their food and beverages to capture the coziness of fall.” 

Identifying a growing need for the comfort provided by pumpkin spice flavors, both Starbucks and Dunkin released their pumpkin coffee lineups in August, ahead of schedule. But, as a result of COVID-19, fewer consumers will be spending leisurely time at coffee shops to indulge their pumpkin spice cravings, giving CPG brands an opportunity to attract consumers during their grocery shopping to enjoy their favorite fall-inspired flavor. 

Kraft Drives Social Media Engagement With Pumpkin Spice Inspired Twitter Sweepstakes

kraft pumpkin spice KMC

Kraft shocked its Twitter followers last month when they announced their latest seasonal social media sweepstakes. After a flood of interest in Canada, Kraft announced they would also bring their new pumpkin spice mac and cheese to the U.S. Kraft created 1,000 boxes of a limited-time product, combining its iconic macaroni and cheese with pumpkin spice flavor. Twitter users who tagged @KraftMacNCheese with hashtags #PumpkinSpiceKMC #Sweepstakes were entered to win one of the pumpkin spice mac and cheese boxes. Winners will receive Kraft’s pumpkin spice packages in reusable coffee cups with their names misspelled to truly embody the coffee shop experience.

Hostess Leads With Pumpkin Spice To Introduce A New Fall Lineup

hostess pumpkin spice

In September, Hostess announced the return of its fall-inspired limited-time offer (LTO) products. The new Hostess LTOs for fall are led by the return of pumpkin spice Twinkies and followed by two new products: apple cinnamon Donettes and maple glazed Donettes. Both Hostess pumpkin spice Cakes and Twinkies are only available until November 8. To engage audiences, Hostess promoted its pumpkin spice products on its social media channels using #pumpkinspice. Pairing the Twinkie Kid alongside taglines like, “Who you callin’ basic,” Hostess is targeting both parents and kids by combining pop culture references with their cartoon mascot through social media messaging. In a press release, Hostess Brands director of brand marketing Adam Lisook said, “Our insights show that consumers hungrily anticipate the arrival of signature seasonal flavors and they look to limited-time only treats to greet them like long-lost friends.” Lisook noted that Hostess relies on customer data to deliver treats that align with changing consumer tastes. 

STōK Launches #PumpkinAF Campaign To Announce New Flavor

With typical morning coffee runs remaining limited, drinking and brewing coffee at home is one of many trends that arose as a result of COVID-19. To compete for cart space, cold brew coffee brand STōK recently launched its latest campaign focusing on all things pumpkin spice. Brittney Polka, director of marketing for STōK, said, “It’s no secret that people love pumpkin, and once fall arrives it's hard to ignore the frenzy that circles the flavor.” 

STōK Launches #PumpkinAF Campaign

STōK partnered with counterculture comedian Tom Segura for the release of its new limited-time flavor, pumpkin cold brew and the debut of its #PumpkinAF campaign. As part of the PumpkinAF campaign, STōK created the landing page pumpkinaf.com dedicated to the release of a line of custom tumblers along with its new pumpkin spice flavored cold brew. According to a press release, STōK’s #PumpkinAF campaign tumblers represent the brand’s “bold taste and unfiltered attitude.” Consumers who shared posts with #pumpkinAF and tagged @Stokcoldbrew were entered to win a custom tumbler featuring tongue-in-cheek pop culture phrases like, “OMG PSL” and “I Literally Can’t Even.” Segura said, “This tumbler pokes fun at the sometimes ridiculous fall frenzy that comes with the onset of the season. So whether or not you're an all-out pumpkin fan, we created something to hold your STōK cold brew so you can take on the season.” STōK’s announcement of its new pumpkin spice cold brew received more than 10,000 views on Instagram.   

CPG Marketers Need To Appeal To Evolving Consumer Tastes & Needs

While food trends come and go, it is important that CPG marketers remain nimble in their responses to shifting consumer tastes. As CPG brands strive to drive trials and maintain brand loyalty, they must consider the current environment. Consumers are seeking products that are affordable, accessible, familiar and representative of positive feelings and emotions. 

Are You Looking For Insight On How To Reach Consumers More Effectively?

Digital Media Solutions® (DMS) creates people-based marketing campaigns based on highly defined audience profiles to attract the consumers with the greatest likelihood to convert. Using choreographed messaging, DMS can build your campaign with your choice of channels to attract new customers.

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About the Author

Melissa Ledesma

An innovative problem solver by nature, Melissa Ledesma is both experienced and passionate about the digital marketing industry. She has held a number of high-level positions within the real estate, mortgage, entertainment and digital advertising industries, including Director of PR and Business Development at NJ Lenders Corp. and Director of Communications & Government Affairs at Eastern Bergen County Board of Realtors. As Director of Content & Communications at Digital Media Solutions (DMS), Melissa demonstrates a strategic, creative and tactical approach when handling the thought leadership programs and marketing and communications efforts for DMS and its family of brands. She manages all conferences, sponsorships and event execution and plays a pivotal role in the creation of written, digital and video content for all campaigns. Melissa has consistently positioned the team at DMS as experts in performance marketing across multiple industries.

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