Pumpkin Spice Season

Ahh, the changing colors on the trees, a crisp breeze in the air and scarves and boots have once again hit the streets. The new season is now in full swing across the nation, fall you ask? Nope that’s not it. Autumn? No. It is now officially Pumpkin Spice Season. Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past six weeks you have inevitably been bombarded with pumpkin spice in your coffee, candles, lotions, baked goods, beer, oreos and everything else they can jam the flavor into. In just the past few years pumpkin spice has exploded not just into the food and beverage industry but also now in bath and body products.

Now for some serious number crunching, according to the US Department of Agriculture, just in the last 5 years pumpkin sales have risen 34% (CNN). Furthermore, “Sales of all pumpkin-flavored foods and beverages increased 14% in 2013 compared to 2012, according to market research firm Nielsen.” (CNN). In terms of dollar sales, “pumpkin offerings have experienced double-digit growth for the past several years, reaching nearly $350 million in 2013, according to market research firm Nielsen.” (CEN). $350 million!?! Are you kidding me, and that doesn’t even include the sales of the original culprit, Starbuck’s pumpkin spice. According to Starbucks the pumpkin spice latte or PSL for short is now in its tenth season and has now sold over $200 million of the flavored drinks. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for celebrating the season, but these numbers are incredible. Does pumpkin spice really taste and smell that good or is there something else fueling this pumpkin craze? My bet is on the latter.


While some may claim pumpkin spice is simply the best flavor, I am inclined to disagree. I think the obsession with pumpkin spice everything stems from something deeper than just the flavor and I’m not alone. A freshman at the University of Illinois says, “Pumpkin spice reminds me of fall, and I think I love it more because it’s limited edition because I know it won’t be around for long, so I feel like I need to get it every day.”(TheDailyIllni). That right there is reason pumpkin spice has skyrocketed. It isn’t the flavor or the smell or even the lovely color, no it’s the fact that marketers are able to capture the essence of season into a product. It’s true. Everybody loves fall, the changing colors, the dropping temps and the cozy clothes, and by some twist of magic this can be captured by the pumpkin spice flavor even the fleetingness of fall before the long winter sets in. After all these products are only available for a limited time. It’s as if we want to soak up and consume as much of the season as we can before it inevitably disappears. But while the theory is genius, the practice isn’t. Now that pumpkin spice has proven its ability to sell well it seems we can’t get away from it. Seriously it’s everywhere and it’s annoying. And while I may love the season of fall I could live without pumpkin spice being stuffed down my throat. So be gone pumpkin spice and bring on the peppermint! 😉


Drahl, C. (2014, October 20). Pumpkin Spice Flavor. Retrieved October 23, 2014, from http://cen.acs.org/articles/92/i43/Pumpkin-Spice-Flavor.html

Galassi, M. (2014, October 14). Pumpkin spice invasion takes over food industry. Retrieved October 23, 2014, from http://www.dailyillini.com/lifeandculture/food_health/article_34756768-5334-11e4-bc9e-0017a43b2370.html

Gillespie, P. (2014, October 1). Did Starbucks start a pumpkin boom? Retrieved October 23, 2014, from http://money.cnn.com/2014/10/01/news/economy/pumpkin-boom-starbucks-sam-adams/

Maynard, M. (2014, October 22). How Starbucks Turned Pumpkin Spice Into A Marketing Bonanza. Retrieved October 23, 2014, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/michelinemaynard/2013/09/22/how-starbucks-turned-pumpkin-spice-into-a-marketing-bonanza/

More Than 200 Million Sold: Fans Celebrate the Return of the Original Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks | Starbucks Newsroom. (2013, September 2). Retrieved October 23, 2014, from http://news.starbucks.com/news/more-than-200-million-sold-fans-celebrate-the-return-of-the-original-pumpki

Offical Comedy. (2013, September 26). Pumpkin Spice: Official Movie Trailer. Retrieved October 23, 2014, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jv8agWUP7Kw&list=PLbpi6ZahtOH5yustmudvucsj1C8Y7UVpy&index=2

Oliver, J. (2014, October 12). Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Pumpkins Spice (Web Exclusive). Retrieved October 23, 2014, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeQqe0oj5Ls&list=PLbpi6ZahtOH5yustmudvucsj1C8Y7UVpy&index=1

4 thoughts on “Pumpkin Spice Season

  1. Pumpkin spice flavoring/scent is undoubtedly played out, but it has found its place in popular culture. One of the best ways to promote continual sales of a product is to make it traditional, for example McDonald’s Shamrock shakes in March. The fact that a product is only available for a limited time does encourage consumers to take advantage of such an opportunity. One can almost compare it to buying an expensive, yet poorly made Halloween costume because of the mere fact that Halloween only comes once a year.


  2. I really enjoyed the more factual side of the pumpkin spice phenomenon! It’s true that from season to season we are inundated with various themes and scents and food that make a big difference for companies like Starbucks, Yankee Candle, and McDonalds. Its true that “pumpkin spice” has a lot of hype, but when you think about it all companies are seasonal. Clothing companies, food manufacturers, beverage companies, cosmetics. They all change with the season. So even though we’ve gone pumpkin crazy if it’s working for this season, they should keep running with it!


  3. Thank god there’s more people out there who don’t like pumpkin spice lattes. I think this is just a fad, as the person above said. Half of the people like it because their friends like it, it’s not based off personal preference. But it’s a brilliant marketing technique, because people are always going to want something more when they can’t have it all year round.


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