pumpkin with spices, natural pumpkin spice flavor

Natural Pumpkin Spice Flavor | Trends & Innovation

Pumpkin spice and autumn: you can’t have one without the other! There’s a lot more to natural pumpkin spice flavor than pies, muffins, and lattes. From savory raviolis to bold bourbon, this seasonal flavor has a whole world of innovative applications waiting to be explored. Whether you’re a food scientist, product developer, or just a flavor enthusiast, join us in the patch for a revealing look at this feel-good flavor!

little boy playing in pumpkin patch
Pumpkin spice flavor evokes the warmth, nostalgia, and cozy ambiance of the fall holiday season.

Want early access to flavor trends, food and beverage innovation, and market insights? Then make sure you…

Join the Flavor Trends Email List!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

What is pumpkin spice?

The history of the pumpkin spice flavor is steeped in tradition and culinary exploration. Four spices comprise the blend – cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice. This quartet has been used in cooking and baking for centuries, and across different cultures. However, the “pumpkin spice” blend did not become popular unil the mid-20th century. It was a clever innovation by United States spice companies to introduce a spice mix that home cooks could easily use in pumpkin pie recipes. The name “pumpkin spice” is a bit of a misnomer, as the mixture does not contain any pumpkin!

Natural pumpkin spice flavor was quickly adopted by the food and beverage industry. The spice blend’s popularity soared in the early 2000’s when it began being used as a Fall seasonal flavoring in café lattes. This firmly established natural pumpkin spice flavor as a symbol of Autumn. Today, the beloved flavor has expanded to various food and beverage applications, proving its versatility and enduring consumer appeal.

Want to make your own spice blend? Check out this recipe for homemade pumpkin spice.

The most popular fall seasonal flavor

The popularity of natural pumpkin spice flavor is nothing short of phenomenal! Pumpkin spice is synonymous with the coziness and warmth of the Autumn season, evoking images of falling leaves, soft woolen sweaters, and evenings by the fireplace. Starting as early as August, US food and beverage companies begin marketing it as a fall seasonal flavor. Without this sweet flavor, would fall even exist (many Starbucks PSL fans think not).

Pumpkin spice’s application extends far beyond the original pies and lattes, permeating every corner of the food and beverage industry. You’ll find it in everything from breakfast cereals and baking mixes to craft beers and gourmet chocolates. Seasonal products featuring natural pumpkin spice flavor become consumer favorites, often leading to a significant spike in sales. This annual phenomenon underscores not only the versatility of the flavor but also the selling power of seasonal food trends.

Natural pumpkin spice flavor for food and beverages

Innovative uses for pumpkin spice flavor have gone beyond just sweet treats and coffee drinks. Mixologists are using this flavor to add a sweet and spicy touch to their creations, offering a seasonal twist to familiar drinks such as the Dark & Stormy, Old Fashioned, and Mezcal Negroni. Various savory foods now include the natural flavor of pumpkin spice, such as in spice-rubbed meats for an Autumn-inspired barbecue or a sprinkling in hearty vegetable soups, delivering a dash of warmth. Snack manufacturers infuse this seasonal flavor into popcorn, chips, hummus, and even turkey jerky, reinventing the snack aisle.

Due to its overwhelming popularity, pumpkin spice flavor finally has the opportunity to branch out into new and exciting directions. Where will it go next – perhaps a Pumpkin Spice Pina Colada or Rotisserie Chicken?

Request a sample of natural pumpkin spice flavor

redheaded girl with freckles eating piece of pumpkin pie, natural pumpkin spice flavor

What pairs well with natural pumpkin spice flavor?

Exciting flavor innovations aside, we cannot forget that pumpkin spice is a flavor with a serious cult following. There are many pumpkin spice purists who want nothing more than the traditional sweet, creamy, and fragrant brown spice confections that they remember from their childhood. Take a walk down memory lane with some of these traditional pumpkin spice flavor pairings.

Sweet pairings

  • Pumpkin Spice and Pastry: In other words, pumpkin pie. Butter, toasted dough, cooked milk, roasted squash, and pumpkin spice: it just works. 
  • Pumpkin Spice and Apple: The crisp brightness of apple paired with the warmth of pumpkin spice offers a classic fall flavor duo reminiscent of the harvest season.
  • Pumpkin Spice and Maple Syrup: The deep sweetness of maple syrup paired with pumpkin spice creates a rich, caramel-like flavor, perfect for breakfast items or baked goods.
  • Pumpkin Spice and Vanilla Bean: Like a cashmere sweater layered over your favorite blue jeans, the sweet and creamy flavor of vanilla bean lightly contrasts with the hearty character of pumpkin spice, providing a sophisticated yet strong taste.
  • Pumpkin Spice and Caramel: The creamy and sweet flavor of caramel enhances the rich and warm notes of pumpkin spice, creating an indulgent and decadent pairing.

Robust pairings

  • Pumpkin Spice and Dark Chocolate: Natural pumpkin spice flavor balances the richness and depth of dark chocolate, leading to an indulgent, velvety experience.
  • Pumpkin Spice and Pecans: The buttery texture and rich flavor of pecans perfectly complement the cinnamon and allspice notes of pumpkin spice for a satisfying, nutty experience.
  • Pumpkin Spice and Ginger: The bold spice of ginger combined with pumpkin spice results in a bright and warming combination, perfect for beverages and baked goods.
  • Pumpkin Spice and Coconut Milk: The creamy texture and tropical notes of coconut milk paired with pumpkin spice result in a unique, balanced flavor, adding an exotic twist to the fall favorite.
  • Pumpkin Spice and Bourbon: The rich, oaky notes of bourbon juxtaposed with the warm notes of pumpkin spice create a complex, refined flavor pairing, ideal for adventurous palates.
Little Girl Sitting On A Pumpkin In A Patch
Take a trip to the pumpkin patch with natural pumpkin spice flavor!

Try natural pumpkin spice flavor

Looking for natural and organic pumpkin spice flavor?  Request a sample today and start using pumpkin spice flavor in your products! 

Request A Sample of Natural Pumpkin Spice Flavor

Food and beverage development services

We hope these ideas help launch your next iconic flavor!  Blue Pacific Flavors has been a leader in flavor trends and food and beverage innovation since 1993.  Learn more about our product development services in this video.

Sign Up

Try this refreshing juniper and citrus gin flavor in your next nonalcoholic beverage application.  It makes a great alcohol-free Gin & Tonic, Gimlet, or Tom Collins!

Request A Sample

With warm notes of agave, hardwood, and wildflower honey, our natural tequila flavor can be used in applications where gold or reposado tequila is required.  It’s the perfect flavor for a nonalcoholic Margarita, Paloma, Tequila Sunrise, or Mexican Mule.

Request A Sample

With notes of rich caramel, dried fruit, and brown spice, our natural spiced rum flavor captures the best of Barbados.  The perfect choice for creating a nonalcoholic Mai Tai, Daquiri, Hurricane, or Mojito – or managing the freeze point for Rum Raisin ice cream.

Request A Sample

Our natural vermouth flavor is bursting with layered cherry and wine flavor.  Pair it with our natural Bourbon flavor to craft the ultimate nonalcoholic Manhattan cocktail, or our natural gin flavor to make an alcohol-free Negroni.

Request A Sample

Our natural rosé flavor helps consumers drink pink, without the alcohol!  With notes of ripe strawberry and wine, it’s a sophisticated choice for the best beverage, confectionary, frozen dessert, and sweet sauce applications.

Request A Sample

Dry and crisp with just the right balance of fruit and toast, our natural champagne flavor adds sparkle to a variety of applications.  Try it in everything from nonalcoholic Mimosas to gummy candies and sweet tea – even cakes and ice cream!

Request A Sample

Bold and smoky with notes of molasses and vanilla, our natural bourbon whiskey flavor takes you deep into the mountains of Tennessee.  Don’t make a nonalcoholic Manhattan, Old Fashioned, or Mint Julep without it!

Request A Sample

With just the right balance of caramel malt and hop notes, our natural beer flavor captures the essence of the classic pale ale.  Whether used in a nonalcoholic beverage or specialty cheese dip, beer flavor is sure to deliver!

Request A Sample