Since Starbucks launched the pumpkin spice latte two decades ago in 2003, it, as well as pumpkin spice seasoned foods and beverages, have become a fall cultural tradition.
Starbucks has been slowly moving the latte's launch date earlier and earlier from year to year. The release date used to fall in early September. The extreme summer heat isn't slowing the pumpkin spice season this year. This year, their pumpkin spice latte was launched six days earlier than last year, on August 24, its earliest arrival date.
Starbucks isn't done creating pumpkin drinks. This year, they've added Iced Pumpkin Cream Chai Tea Latte. It took its inspiration from popular customization by TikTokers, who ordered from the coffee chain's secret menu. Here's one of the TikToks from back in 2020 - click here.
Starbucks pumpkin spice latte has helped spawn a larger pumpkin spice economy, with everything from pumpkin spice-flavored beer to pumpkin spice-flavored Cheerios to pumpkin spice scented trash bags. Each fall Trader Joe's has a Pumpkin Palooza with many pumpkin spice products. Last year they had 20 pumpkin spice offerings.
Interest in pumpkin spice is on a continual growth curve based on Google searches.
In 2018, Robert Klara, a scholar of popular culture at Bowling Green State University, attributed the popularity of pumpkin spice to its "nostalgic connections" to elements of American popular culture "that we are increasingly afraid or losing touch with," such as carving pumpkins and gathering for Thanksgiving dinner.
With the popularity of pumpkin spice, don't disappoint your fall agritourism customers by not offering some pumpkin spice food/drink selections. Yes, people may be coming for u-pick pumpkins, but having signature pumpkin spice food/drink offerings can boost the appeal of your farm versus the growing competition (see article this issue).