Pumpkin Spice: Pleasure or Plague

Love it or leave it, you can’t escape it in the fall

Since the 2003 release of Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte, the flavor has taken over almost every market the moment fall hits.

Every year, more things take on the flavor, or the scent, or just the branding, to attract customers to buy companies’ limited edition products. But a huge question is, why? Why are so many people so enthralled with this flavor/fragrance/theme that it has become the sign of fall before the official first day of fall even hits?

The answer is actually pretty simple. It’s all in customers’ heads. Many studies have been done to find out what is so appealing about the spice and it all has to do with sugar and good memories. Many people associate flavors like pumpkin pie with holidays, being warm and happy with family. Pair those nostalgic feelings with sugar, and our brains become wired to crave the taste, smell or essence.

More than 20 million Pumpkin Spice Lattes have been sold since their release, making Starbucks millions of dollars, but they aren’t the only ones banking on it. Many items have a limited pumpkin spice option. Cereals, beverages, candles, whatever you can think of, there’s a big chance they have pumpkin spice. Even the local Tires Plus is in on the trend, cheekily advertising that they offer “Pumpkin Spice oil” for their customers.

Of course, not everyone likes pumpkin spice. Some might not like the taste but like the smell while others might not like the smell but like the taste.

A local college student, Haley Mastvelten, said “It is terrible. Even the smell of pumpkin spice is repulsive. I associate it with pumpkin pie, which has the most terrible texture ever!”

The many supporters though completely disagree with Mastvelten. Many said they love the taste of pumpkin spice because of the warm feeling it gave them.

Regardless of whether you like the Pumpkin Spice Latte from coffee shops, pumpkin spice has been around since the 1890s and is in a large variety of recipes.

The internet is also full of fun recipes that revolve around the flavor. There are truffles shaped like pumpkins that, when added to hot milk, make a pumpkin spice hot chocolate. There are a variety of muffins with the spice flavor added to it along with a variety of other deserts, soups, drinks, and gravy. Delish.com even offers an article with 25 different recipes they say are better than the pumpkin spice latte.

A fun fact some consumers may not know is that most pumpkin spice recipes don’t even have pumpkin in them. The spice is made up of mixtures of nutmeg, cinnamon, dried ginger and clove, or allspice. Some pumpkin spice flavored options could even be made of synthetic tastes. Whatever the pumpkin spice is, many people still love it. Unfortunately for regular pumpkins, the popular flavor hasn’t helped them become more popular.