According to the data trackers at Nielsen, Americans spend about half a billion dollars on pumpkin spice products every year. Starbucks, Dunkin’, and Krispy Kreme led the charge in this year’s pumpkin spice craze by launching their beloved pumpkin spice menus in August, almost a full month before the official start of fall.
Why Pumpkin Spice?
According to Catherine Franssen, professor of neuroscience at Longwood University and an expert in pumpkin spice, it isn’t just our taste buds that crave the popular fall flavor but also our sense of nostalgia.
“Pumpkin spice’s triumph hinges on two factors: the immediate gratification from sugar and fat content and the enduring anticipation prompted by nostalgic connections,” she said. “It epitomizes groundbreaking neuromarketing over the past decades. The pumpkin spice trend masterfully blends science and sentiment, ensuring its enduring allure.”
Starbucks and its famous Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) started the trend in 2003, launching in just 100 locations. That was just the beginning of making pumpkin spice a household name.
Starbucks started serving this timeless classic for its 20th year on August 24. The PSL combines Starbucks’ signature espresso with steamed milk, pumpkin spice syrup, and whipped cream, topped with a dash of pumpkin spice seasoning. The blend of coffee and warm pumpkin flavors makes it a seasonal staple. It’s a staple that started the pumpkin spice craze.
But that’s not all Starbucks offers this fall. Coffee lovers can also indulge in the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, an alternative for those who prefer their pumpkin spice fix in a cold form. This beverage features cold brew coffee with vanilla syrup, pumpkin cream cold foam, and a sprinkle of pumpkin spice. It’s a good choice for those who want a chillier take on the autumn flavor.
Dunkin’ isn’t letting themselves be left out of the pumpkin spice excitement. and brought back its lineup of pumpkin-flavored drinks and treats on August 16. Their Pumpkin Spice Latte is a sweet and spicy combination of espresso and steamed milk, flavored with pumpkin and vanilla syrup and finished with whipped cream. Dunkin’ fans can also enjoy the Pumpkin Iced Coffee and Pumpkin Donuts, providing pumpkin spice goodness in various forms.
What’s new this year at Dunkin’ is the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, a frothy option for those who prefer iced coffee. It features cold brew coffee topped with pumpkin spice cold foam, giving it a creamy and flavorful twist. Dunkin’ re-launched its famous pumpkin cake donut, Munchkins Donut Hole Treat, and pumpkin muffin for a sweet bite. If you can’t make it to Dunkin’ for their fall-exclusive pumpkin donuts, made-at-home gluten-free apple cider donuts might hit the mark.
Pumpkin isn’t the only thing Dunkin’ is launching this fall. The Dunkin’ Ice Spice Munchkins drink, created with the help of music artist Ice Spice, also launched this month. With marketing made in collaboration with Ben Affleck, a self-proclaimed Dunkin’ lover, this drink might give pumpkin spice some intense competition.
The Krispy Kreme Menu
Krispy Kreme brought its doughnuts and coffee into the Pumpkin Spice Collection, launched on August 7. This collection includes the quintessential flavors of fall. Of course, donuts are the focus of the fall menu with the return of the Pumpkin Spice Original Glazed Doughnut and Pumpkin Spice Cake Doughnut. New flavors include the Maple Pecan Doughnut and Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Swirl Doughnut. Those who want to try a version of Krispy Kreme doughnuts at home can always whip up this gluten-free Krispy Kreme copycat donut.
Krispy Kreme’s Pumpkin Spice Collection isn’t limited to doughnuts alone. The collection also offers a pumpkin spice latte and coffee for those seeking a caffeine fix infused with the essence of fall.
The Allure of Pumpkin Spice
As the autumn season unfolds, Starbucks, Dunkin’, and Krispy Kreme are just a few places where pumpkin spice enthusiasts can find their favorite seasonal drinks and treats. For those who prefer to enjoy their pumpkin spice at home, they can brew a cup of Dunkins’ Pumpkin Spice Keurig K-Cups and whip up their own gluten-free donuts because it isn’t just the pumpkin spice flavor that keeps people coming back for more.
“Sipping a pumpkin spice latte engages multiple senses, including touch when we cradle the warm cup and smell and taste when we indulge,” explained Franssen. While taste buds contribute only 5 to 25 percent of flavor perception, the olfactory system ignites feelings of nostalgia. Studies show scents activate the imagination; pumpkin spice triggers associations with heartwarming fall scenarios like Thanksgiving feasts and Halloween festivities. Positive memories linked to these trigger brain neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, eliciting pleasure and comfort.” No wonder pumpkin spice has made its way into our hearts.
So, whether you prefer a classic Pumpkin Spice Latte, want to try something new like a Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, or make a delicious treat at home with a warm cup of home-brewed pumpkin coffee, there is something for everyone to enjoy during the pumpkin spice season.
This article was produced by Media Decision and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Karen Kelly | Wealth of Geeks undefined