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Why pecan pie potato chips spur grocery sales

Starbucks' holiday season red cups, seen in 2012 during its "Come Together" campaign in Washington, DC.

Notice anything different at the grocery store this time of year? A hint of pumpkin spice? A peppermint twist? An abundance of eggnog flavored items?

“This is something that happens every year and companies such as Kellogg’s and Kraft don’t mess around” says Venessa Wong, associate editor at Bloomberg's Businessweek. She wrote about the trend.

The last quarter of the year -- October through December -- tends to be the busiest time for grocery stores says Wong. Their success over competitors can have a lot to do with the special "holiday" foods the grocery store has to offer and how it’s displayed. And Wong says, “it totally works.”

Both grocery stores and food manufacturers have figured out how to tap into customer loyalty through these yearly flavored offerings.

Starbucks is one example of a retailer that’s figured out how to do holiday flavors right with their Pumpkin Spice Latte and other flavored coffee beverages. And back at the grocery store, coffee creamer companies have followed suit with their own versions of the flavors.

But all these holiday-themed food items don't sit well with everybody. Kai Ryssdal, for one, is not a fan. 

 

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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