Image c/o writer
By Olivia Burke
Visiting Entertainment Columnist
The holiday season holds many different traditions. A large part of many peoples’ traditions is food, and as businesses start to roll out holiday merchandise, seasonal flavors come back into the spotlight. With Thanksgiving having come and gone, we’ve passed the height of what many people call “pumpkin spice season”. For many, the pumpkin spice craze begins on September 1st, regardless of the fact that the official autumnal equinox is September 22. Many companies take advantage of the excitement over this seasonal flavor, and thus the scope of pumpkin spice-flavored products has grown exponentially. With the addition of stranger and stranger products each year.
Why is it that pumpkin spice is so beloved? In a Today interview with Martha Stewart, published on November 10, Stewart gave her opinion on the pumpkin spice craze. When asked how she felt about pumpkin spice she replied, “In a pie, I love it. In anything else, I do not love it” . This is certainly an unpopular opinion, as most people seem to love pumpkin in any form they can get their hands on. A pivotal moment in pumpkin spice history occurred in 2003 when Starbucks released their now famous pumpkin spice latte, commonly known by its nickname PSL . As many of us know, this launch was an incredible success, and it was merely the beginning of the craze. The pumpkin spice lovers of the world have fueled what is essentially a new industry of pumpkin flavored and scented products, and it is making millions. An article from NBC New York states that, “A new study timed to National Pumpkin Spice Day found sales are on the rise. Last year, in 2022, sales of [pumpkin spice] products reached more than $800 million, up 42% compared to 2019.” Nearly every company that markets food products has made an attempt to participate in the pumpkin spice trend, and understandably so knowing just how much money they have the potential to make if folks continue to gravitate towards this fall flavor.
Some very unusual pumpkin-flavored products have hit the market in the past several years. A few of the strangest being Pumpkin spice Goldfish crackers, hummus, protein powder, soda, Cup Noodles, and SPAM. A company called Chosen Foods released a limited edition pumpkin spice caviar this year, and despite the fact that it is made with avocado oil in place of fish eggs, it doesn’t sound very appetizing. Although pumpkin spice is primarily a flavor, the trend extends far beyond food, and now includes practically any product that has a scent. Pumpkin spice lip balm, candles, toiletries, air freshener, and pumpkin spice scented trash bags, have all been on the market, allowing consumers to take their love for pumpkin to new heights.
What is it that makes pumpkin spice a fan-favorite? The love for pumpkin spice really relies on the spice aspect, since pumpkin has a very subtle flavor on its own. Most “pumpkin flavored” products truly just contain the flavors of various autumn spices. As for the reason we love the flavor, some say it is loved for the seasonal novelty, while others say it retains its popularity as a result of the fond memories of holidays and family that are commonly associated with the flavor (Reilly, Deirdre). Regardless of the reason, pumpkin spice remains a cozy classic that is savored year after year.
Madison Sciba '24,