• By Gina Shanks
  • In Holiday
  • Posted October 19, 2018

Tis the Season of Pumpkin Spice

Tis the Season for all the craze over pumpkin flavors. October hits and everyone runs for their favorite pumpkin flavored everything. The Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) can be blamed for the start of the pumpkin craze.  It has since blossomed beyond hot drinks. Which brings us to the ultimate question, why is there such a huge Pumpkin Spice obsession?

Where it began

It began in 2003 when Starbucks product manager Peter Dukes and his team were delegated to come up with a seasonal fall drink.  Their first ideas were for a “pumpkin pie” flavored latte.  Needless to say, it didn’t go over so well.  Even so, it was included in the Starbucks test runs. After testing other several flavors, the “pumpkin pie latte” became the winner. This is when the real work began. The team was to create the perfect blend of pumpkin pie and coffee, then to give it a catchy name. Once the two were officially decided on, the first step towards Pumpkin Spice obsession began!

Pumpkin Spice is a Success

During the fall of 2003 the latte was introduced in Starbucks stores in both Vancouver and Washington, D.C.  Within no time it proved to be a complete success. It wasn’t though until the fall of 2004 that the Pumpkin Spice latte became available throughout the country. From that moment its popularity expanded rapidly!  In 2014 the famed latte got its own Twitter account, and now also has its own Instagram. Their follower count combined amounts to over 145,000.

While the enthusiasm for the PSL grew, other companies began to join in with creating their own versions of the popular latte.  Starbucks competitors and local coffee shop shops in town wanted to be included with their own creation of the famous latte.  Now it’s not just Pumpkin Spice in drink form anymore. It’s turned into something more, to the point that nearly everything has become inundated by the Pumpkin!

Why is it so popular?

But what is it really that makes it so popular? According to trendologist Kara Nielsen, it is the fact that it is only available for a certain period of time.  Since you can’t have this delicious flavor in March, the excitement builds while you wait for fall for local retailers to launch their pumpkin flavors. As well as that when something proves to be successful, it makes others want to try and duplicate it. When the fall season begins to make its approach, stores all over break out their Pumpkin Spice products. These range from cereals, snack foods, cough drops, alcohol, hummus and even dog shampoo! It’s now also a hair color, varying in shades of red.

There is a multitude of theories as to why people are so fascinated with the seasonal flavor. Is it the fact that it’s available for only a limited time? Is it the smell, bringing back memories of fall’s gone by? Or is it the spicy sweetness? Ultimately there is no one right answer; the attraction varies from person to person.  The PSL has gained such comedic meme levels by being titled as “basic”.   Even with  it continues to fill stores nationwide each year with eager customers.