Chick-fil-A is making magic again with peach milkshakes, but how are they doing it?

From PRNewswire on April 5:

Last summer, Chick-fil-A® offered a peach-flavored milkshake for a limited time that proved to be wildly popular among customers.  Starting today, the chain is bringing the Peach Milkshake back as a limited-time flavor through June 26 at the chain's mall and stand-alone restaurants nationwide.  

The Peach Milkshake is made with real peaches and, as with the chain's year-round milkshake flavors, is hand-spun with Chick-fil-A's popular "home-style" Icedream® and topped with light whipped cream and a maraschino cherry. Milkshakes are offered in 14 oz. or 20 oz. cups and priced at $2.55 and $2.95, respectively (at most locations).  

Since Chick-fil-A first introduced its line of Hand-Spun Milkshakes in May 2006, the desserts have quickly become one of the most popular products on the menu.  

"We continue to build upon the overall success of our Hand-Spun Milkshakes by creating limited-time flavors as a way to celebrate special times of the year," said Woody Faulk, Chick-fil-A's vice president of brand strategy and design, who oversees the chain's menu strategy.  "Our previous limited-time flavors have helped maintain interest in our milkshake line among existing customers and also have helped us win new customers who were not aware of Chick-fil-A's Milkshakes.  The peach flavor in particular was a tremendous hit with customers last year, so we are excited to bring the flavor again.  We have a feeling we will be making a lot of customers happy!"

I've had these peach milkshakes before and they are amazing. However, given the timing of the announcement, I am coming to terms with the fact the peaches being used are apparently not fresh peaches. Consider the fact that for the most recent reporting period, March 21 to March 27,  the USDA reported total fresh peach shipments of twenty  100,000 pound units. While that may sound substantial, that volume represents only a tiny fraction of combined domestic and imported peach volume. 

Alas, the just announced reprise of the "real peach" shake at Chick Fil A is not "real fresh," at least according to my common sense deductions.

Here is how the fresh peach crop is marketed in the U.S., according to the USDA

% of fresh peaches marketed by month - 2009
April  0.2%
May 1%
June 18%
July 26%
August 22.9%
September 12.8%

Kudos to Chick-Fil-A for a scrumptious peach milkshake and creating the illusion of seasonality with limited time availability. Considering the peach milkshake is likely made with frozen peaches, Chick Fil A could make and market these shakes year round. Add the Chick Fil-A milkshake to the McRib and Girl Scout cookies on the list of  "limited time only" foods consumers will doggedly seek out  "while supplies last."