Bakery chain Greggs is using the scarcity principle to drive demand for hot autumnal drinks, following a similarly successful campaign by Starbucks.

Following a successful launch last autumn, Greggs’ pumpkin spice latte is back by popular demand, the retailer has said. The £2.20 hot drink is made with sweet pumpkin spice flavour syrup, topped with cream and spiced sugar sprinkles and directly competes with Starbucks’ autumn favourite.

Starbucks, one of Greggs’ high street rivals, first introduced the flavour back in 2003 and since then it has become one of the most anticipated seasonal coffee varieties.

According to research by Sense360, consumer visits to Starbucks increase approximately by 7% over its pumpkin spice latte season. This may be due to consumers tending to value items more when they have limited availability, known as the scarcity effect. According to research from Ohio State University, possessing a scarce commodity makes consumers feel distinctive and unique, which helped Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte become as successful as it is now.

Greggs recently began to expand its range of hot drinks to compete with global coffee giant Starbucks, and Nero in the UK, and to specifically target coffee drinkers. However, Greggs’ premise is to be affordable and accessible at all times of the day something that appeals to 58% of UK consumers who view ‘value for money’ to mean low price in food/drink, according to a GlobalData consumer survey of Q3 2018.

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