November 1, 2023

Caramel apple flavor: the flavor of the fall festival.

The autumn season brings many things to mind–changing leaves, cool breezes, fall festivals, and...caramel apples. The American experience is indelibly marked with childhood memories of going to fairs during this festive season. Traveling fairs and carnivals celebrating the end of the summer growing season and the delights of the harvest. It’s as nostalgic as apple pie, or in this case, caramel apple flavor.

Caramel Apple Flavor is Dominating the Market This Fall

While pumpkin spice has become ubiquitous every year as the summer edges its way into autumn (see our last blog here), another flavor combo has long dominated the fall flavor market…caramel apple!

Each year caramel apple flavoring pops up starting in late August through early December, just in time for those fall festivities.

Over the past year caramel apple flavor has grown over


in market share. Taking even more store shelves than the years before.

Rotating Images of Caramel Apple Flavor

Caramel apple is the fastest rising flavor in the snack market every fall and is also hugely popular among people on a vegan or vegetarian diet, not to mention more traditional diets as well. One look at the numbers shows you cannot pass up having caramel apple flavors in your seasonal offerings and it is a perfect fit for any snack category or sweet beverages and treats. The connection is an old one, and one that many Americans return to year after year.

A Pairing That Makes Autumn

Separately, both caramel and apple have been favorite foods and flavors for centuries. Sweet, crisp, and tart on the one hand and sweet, smooth, and buttery on the other. It was only a matter of time before they came together in perfect harmony. Harvest time has always been special around the world, as the hard work of summer is collected and the people celebrate another year of bounty.

Masonry Grid of Caramel Apple Flavor

All around America, fairs, carnivals, and other festivals grew out of this joy and brought fun, games, and fair food to town. Fair food is a special treat that people look forward to all year, and that trend started early, especially after the 1870s and up into the early 1900s around the country.

In the late 1800s to 1908 or so–there is some debate, of course–someone brought the notion of candied apples to the fair stage. These sweet treats were hugely popular and took the already favored autumn apple and added a sweet twist. From there, other candy makers and sweet shops sought to take it a step further, and in the 1950s a Kraft Foods employee claimed to come up with the idea of the caramel-dipped apple. This is also debatable, as other researchers have found evidence from recipe books and news clippings referencing caramel apple pies and goodies going back to the 1880s and 1930s, but whatever the case, they quickly became another fall staple.

Caramel Apple Everything!

Since America loves autumn and our sweet tooth knows no bounds, it is no wonder that caramel apple flavor has become the powerhouse of fall. Unlike pumpkin, it has broken free of just being a Halloween treat and can be found at any kind of gathering from August to December. 

Caramel Apple Flavor scented candles and cleaners

Not to mention, it can be found in anything. The scent is a popular one found in candles, air fresheners, body sprays, and even cleaning products. So it comes as no surprise that it has many uses in the food and beverage space.

The heavenly pairing of tart apple and sweet caramel is an easy sell for most candy products on the market.

Caramel apple flavor is natural for any kind of candy product. Already it has a home with such confectionary stalwarts as Tootsie Roll, Twizzlers, and even Peeps! Caramel apple caramels and candies are popular with all ages and are growing in popularity every year!

The heavenly pairing of tart apple and sweet caramel is an easy sell for most candy products on the market. In addition to candy, cookies and cakes as well as ice cream, are perfect pairings. Adding the caramel apple flavoring to a confection or baked treat will spell instant fall to most consumers and have them in a land of autumn dreaming.

Taking things to the next level, many beverages, both alcoholic and not, are delighting taste buds. Mixed drinks and hard seltzers, not to mention ciders and beers, are all perfect candidates for a fall makeover. Even some savory snacks are getting in on the caramel apple trend, as many rice cake and cracker producers are marrying the flavors to give their products a little seasonal boost.

When deciding on fall flavors to enhance your offerings, don’t stop at just pumpkin spice. Caramel apple is another fall favorite that has been a long time standard and perfect for reliving those fall festivals we’ve all come to love. The two flavors are dynamite on their own, but don’t miss out on the magic that happens when they are brought together and become the great taste of fall, fairs, and fun!