(CNN) — Fall doesn’t start for seven more weeks, but it has already begun for Oreo.
Oreo’s “Pumpkin Spice Sandwich Cookies” are hitting store shelves on August 15, marking their return following a five-year hiatus. The limited-edition flavor features two golden Oreo cookies with a “festive pumpkin spice flavored cream” sandwiched in the middle.
Pumpkin-flavored items have become synonymous with fall, with companies launching them in August to capture the excitement. Bud Light Seltzer and Samuel Adams beer have pumpkin-flavored beverages, Cup Noodles sells pumpkin-flavored ramen and both Starbucks and Dunkin’ infuse the flavor into drinks every year.
Seasonal items are an important marketing tool for the food industry, according to Alexander Chernev, a professor of marketing at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. For food brands, which rely on familiarity, holiday 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 spark customer excitement, such as chocolate confetti cake for its birthday and a Lady Gaga flavor. Owned by Mondelez, the 110-year-old Oreo brand continues to grow. Releasing unique flavors is part of the company’s goal to increase sales of the brand by $1 billion in the next year.
The company recently announced it’s divesting its gum business, including Dentyne and Trident, in developed markets like North America and parts of Europe. It will hold onto its gum business in emerging markets.