Fall favorite: Pumpkin Spice

It may still be 90 degrees outside, but fall is officially here, along with the season’s favorite flavor to obsess over

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photo by Bailey Fisher

Pumpkin spice and everything nice. Along with the season changing also comes the return of popular pumpkin goods. One of the most well known is Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte, reinvented to be healthier this year including real pumpkin and no artificial coloring.

Nothing says fall like sipping on a pumpkin spice latte in the blazing hot sun. Although it may not seem like autumn, and likely will not for a while in Florida, beloved pumpkin products are already making their way back into the spotlight.

From Starbucks’ newly redesigned pumpkin spice latte (boasting over 100,000 Twitter followers) to supermarket sensations like pumpkin spice M&Ms or pumpkin flavored Oreos, pumpkin flavors have become inescapable. Overtaking taste buds and social media everywhere, many food fans are falling victim to pumpkin fever. Who can blame them when products are becoming available so early in the season?

Releasing their iconic beverage Sept. 8, Starbucks fell just short of competitor Dunkin’ Donuts, who released their pumpkin flavored drinks, donuts and baked goods on Aug. 31. The need for pumpkin has led companies to release products earlier, merging “pumpkin season” with summer.

“It seems a bit ridiculous to be drinking a fall flavor when it’s still 90 degrees outside,” senior Natalie Rivera said.

Before releasing this year’s pumpkin spice latte, Starbucks announced that their seasonal go-to would be undergoing a slight makeover. Ditching the flavor additives and caramel coloring, Starbucks has opted for real pumpkin and the natural color that comes along with it. This year’s drink is healthier than in the past, but just as delectable.

“I’m extremely glad that they made [pumpkin spice lattes] healthier, because I was only able to get them every once in a while when they were not as healthy for you,” senior Taylor Jennings said.

Along with seasonal staples such as the pumpkin spice latte, averaging about 20 million sold yearly, and Dunkin’s pumpkin flavored donuts, processed food companies are also beginning to tap into the pumpkin demand. Pop-Tarts released a pumpkin pie-flavored toaster pastry, Bigelow developed a pumpkin spice tea blend and Trader Joe’s created a new pumpkin-flavored dog treat to ensure that four-legged-friends stay trendy. For those over 21, there is even pumpkin pie flavored Vodka. If you’re a fan of Bath ’n Body Works, you can smell like fall with their new sweet cinnamon pumpkin scent. From edible goods to beauty products, merchandisers are flooding the market with all things pumpkin.

Many local chains also have their share of pumpkin goods, from Coffeehaus serving pumpkin-flavored coffee beverages to Einstein Bagels offering pumpkin muffins and bagels, plus pumpkin cream cheese to top it all off. If baked goods are not a favorite, Publix sells pumpkin pie ice cream and Jeremiah’s offers pumpkin Italian ice. Aside from dessert items, pumpkin has made its way into fine dining at Bonefish Grill, featured in their swordfish and pumpkin ravioli.

With the overtaking of menus and minds across the nation, it seems logical to wonder: What is all the fuss about? Why are pumpkins so highly obsessed about over other autumn favorites like apple cinnamon or caramel?

“It’s a vegetable that represents this idyllic farm life and the best sort of moral virtue. Americans have become attached to that,” author of Pumpkin: The Curious History of an American Icon Cindy Ott said in an interview with NPR. “We’re celebrating the nostalgia for this old fashioned, rural way of life, that no one ever really wanted to stay on, but everyone’s always been romantic about.”

Is it really the longing for an old-fashioned way of life, or is it the distinct flavor? In some cases, could it even be jumping on the pumpkin bandwagon? Either way, there is a large demand for pumpkin products, and some fans are even in favor of the trend lasting year round.

“I can’t believe they started selling the drinks only a few months early,” senior Amy Wimberly said. “I think they should sell Pumpkin Spice Lattes all year.”

Whatever the reason may be for the fall flavor frenzy, pumpkin flavored goods are here for the year. But, these products are available for a limited time only, so for all the pumpkin fans out there, be sure to take advantage of this trend while supplies last.


 

From donuts to Italian ice to coffee, visit these local favorites to satisfy your pumpkin craving.

Each pumpkin = one pumpkin product

Pumpkin Infographic

Along with their pumpkin baked goods, Starbucks is widely favored for their Pumpkin Spice Latte. This season, Dunkin is switching things up by offering pumpkin mocha iced coffee and pumpkin cheesecake squares. Visit Einstein Bagels for pumpkin classics such as muffins, bagels and lattes. If you’re feeling daring, head to Jeremiah’s and try pumpkin flavored Italian ice.

 

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