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Move Over Pumpkin, Apple and Caramel Are This Fall’s Flavor Favorites

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This fall, apple and caramel flavors are set to challenge pumpkin’s dominance at QSR and retail. Sales of pumpkin-flavored products reached $802.5 million for the year ending in July, up 42% from the same period in 2019, according to Nielsen. Yet it’s new apple and caramel entries that top the list of new products in a nationwide consumer test by System1 Group.

System1 tested fall’s biggest new QSR and retail flavored products using its Test Your Idea platform, which asks consumers if they would buy or sell shares in a product idea. The reason for this is that behavioral science shows that consumers are better predictors of others’ behavior than of their own. Responses are measured on three factors: emotional pull (what and how intensely people feel about the idea), predicted acceptance (sales potential according to whether they’d buy or sell shares in the idea), and decision speed (how quickly each idea spurs them to buy or sell shares).

At least 500 consumers evaluated each of the product ideas, resulting in ratings from 1.0-5.9 Stars depending on the resulting potential for profit. Chick-fil-A Caramel Milkshake (5.6 stars) registered exceptional profit potential with 200% above normal sales potential, Sour Patch Kids Apple Harvest achieved 5.3 Stars, while KIND Caramel Apple Cinnamon Bar (4.8 stars) showed strong profit potential with 150% above normal sales potential. The highest ranking pumpkin flavored product that System1 tested was Starbucks Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew Latte at 4.7 Stars.

“New flavors fuel the market for seasonal products,” said Steve Olenski, SVP/Engagement at System1 Group. “Classic apple and caramel flavors are making a comeback because they’re a change from the parade of pumpkin entries over the past several years.”

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