The $800 Million Pumpkin Spice Season Has Begun

By: James Flippin · August 25, 2023 · Reading Time: 2 minutes

Sweater Weather

Pumpkin Spice Lattes and crisp autumn winds go hand in hand. But this year, Starbucks (SBUX) decided to bring on the cozy sooner, releasing their iconic Pumpkin Spice Latte six days earlier than last year.

Starbucks isn’t the sole trailblazer. Giants like Dunkin’, Krispy Kreme (DNUT), 7-Eleven (SVNDY), and Bath & Body Works (BBWI) have already splashed pumpkin spice onto their offerings.

The flavor Starbucks pioneered 20 years ago has evolved into a cultural craze for consumers and businesses alike. Some may argue the seasonal shift is premature, but pumpkin products raked in more than $800 million over the last year, a hefty leap from the previous year’s round $560 million. That’s a powerful incentive for early adopters.

Pumpkin Politics

Each year, the early appearance of pumpkin spice stirs a familiar brew of discourse: Is it too soon for fall flavors? But maybe there’s a deeper meaning at play.

Some believe nostalgia is the secret ingredient keeping pumpkin spice popular, suggesting the flavor brings us comfort, reminiscent of cozy memories, cooler weather, and fall festivities — even in the summer sun.

Spicy Sales

The pumpkin parade also doesn’t stop at lattes. Dairy Queen (DQ) is set to churn out its Pumpkin Pie Blizzard, and the ice cream and cake shop Carvel is about to roll in with its Pumpkin Cheesecake lineup. Even Wendy’s (WEN) might introduce a pumpkin spice-flavored Frosty and cold brew.

Whether you’re Team Pumpkin or not, there’s no denying its commercial appeal and flavor reign. As summer winds down, a little comfort goes a long way, so maybe it’s time for everyone to spice things up.

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