Oreo brings back pumpkin spice flavor after 5-year hiatus

By Jordan Valinsky, CNN Business

(CNN) — Fall doesn’t start for seven weeks, but it’s already started for Oreo.

Oreo’s “Pumpkin Spice Sandwich Cookies” hit store shelves August 15, marking their return after a five-year hiatus. The limited-edition flavor features two golden Oreo cookies with “festive pumpkin spice flavored creme” sandwiched in the middle.

Pumpkin-flavored items have become synonymous with fall, with companies launching them in August to capture the excitement. Seltzer Bud Light and Samuel Adams beer have pumpkin-flavored drinks, Cup Noodles sells pumpkin ramen and Starbucks and Dunkin’ infuse flavor into drinks every year.

Seasonal items are an important marketing tool for the food industry, according to Alexander Chernev, professor of marketing at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. For food brands, which rely on familiarity, vacation items can offer consumers some variety.

“You need consistency because that’s the brand mantra,” Chernev previously told CNN Business. “But no matter how much you like something, consuming something different…increases the enjoyment of what you consumed before.”

Oreo regularly releases limited-time flavors to get customers excited, like a chocolate confetti cake for her birthday and a Lady Gaga Flavor. Owned by Mondelez, the 110-year-old Oreo brand continues to grow. The release of unique flavors is part of the company’s goal to increase the brand’s sales by one billion dollars next year.

The company recently announced that it sell its chewing gum business, including Dentyne and Trident, in developed markets such as North America and parts of Europe. It will retain its gum business in emerging markets.

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Freeda S. Scott