Pumpkin spice and everything nice

October is finally upon us, and that means halloween costumes, discounted candy, and scary decorations being sold in almost every store. One thing that recently has been a theme for fall time is none other than the flavor pumpkin spice.

In the past year, this food craze has taken America by storm. It originated in Starbucks with the iconic PSL, Pumpkin Spice Latte. It was first sold in 2003, and since then the coming of every fall brings excited coffee enthusiasts storming to their local Starbucks in search for their first taste of fall.

Since the creation of this drink, the popularity of the flavor “Pumpkin Spice” has skyrocketed. A flavor that used to only be found in coffee shops can now be found on numerous shelves in supermarkets all over the country.

People tend to make fun of the different products that seem ridiculous, but obviously these companies are making a profit off of the items if they continue to put money into producing them. So, I decided to investigate. How much pumpkin is too much pumpkin? Are these unusually-flavored food items actually good or are people just brainwashed by the craftful marketing of companies?


Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte

First I decided to begin where it all started, the infamous PSL. I decided to shake it up a little and try it iced instead of the usual hot form. I was sceptical because when I picture cold pumpkin, I picture the gunk you scrape out of the middle of a pumpkin before you carve it (not very appetizing.)

After trying it, I didn’t hate it as much I expected but it also didn’t change my life. I’ve always enjoyed hot Pumpkin Spice Lattes, so I think that the fact that it didn’t  taste like it would if it was warm disappointed me. I didn’t taste the pumpkin or spice as much as I do when it’ warm, but my mother (who is a coffee enthusiast) said that she could distinctly taste the flavor.  

If you are a coffee person and don’t mind there being less flavor, then this might be the coffee for you. I on the other hand, like my coffee with sweet flavor and lots of cream. Personally, I think it was kind of a flop. I rate it a six out of ten.


Pillsbury Grands!™ Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Rolls

When I first saw these on the shelf, I immediately got excited. Unlike some of the other weird items I bought, the thought of pumpkin spice-flavored cinnamon rolls sounded very appetizing to me. Cinnamon and pumpkin seem to be two tastes that worked well together, but it also seemed too good to be true, so I was sceptical.

However, to my delight I enjoyed them. The icing was also pumpkin, so it brought the extra “umph” the rolls needed. They were not as pumpkin-y as I first anticipated, so if you want a strong pumpkin flavor then this pastry is not for you.

I personally enjoyed them very much and would purchase them again. I think the execution of the pumpkin spice flavor was done very well and was not overwhelming. I rate it a nine out of ten.


Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes Pumpkin Spice

I wasn’t planning on purchasing this item when I went to Walmart, but once I saw it, I was curious. I’ve only ever tried the original Frosted Flakes, so I was eager to see if they were worth the money.

To my surprise, I didn’t enjoy these as much as I expected. Frosted Flakes are one of my favorite cereals, but it didn’t have a strong pumpkin taste at all, and the hint of pumpkin I tasted wasn’t good. I believe in this case I was paying for the aesthetic of fall instead of the actual quality of the cereal.

I won’t be purchasing this again – and I rate it a five out of ten.


Philadelphia Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Spread

I was very excited when I saw that my favorite cream cheese was available in the flavor “pumpkin spice.” I had very high hopes  for this item, and I was very pleased. The way that the cream cheese coincided perfectly with the pumpkin flavor and melted on the toasted bagel worked very well. It was sweet but not too sweet, and unlike the other items I tried, I could distinctly taste the pumpkin which is what I was looking for.

This by far was my favorite item that I tried in this experiment, and I will be purchasing this again in the future. I rate it a ten out of ten.

In conclusion, I believe that the producers are being very smart in their marketing strategies. They use ethos in their advertisement by designing boxes that are orange and brown and have leaves and pumpkins on them. By doing this, it makes the consumer want to reach for the box and experience the taste of fall.

However, I believe many of these items are created for just that – to sell more goods and make more money. I doubt that a lot of people on a hot July day would reach for a box of pumpkin spice Frosted Flakes. However, the pumpkin spice items on the shelves catch your eye, and people buy them compulsively, which boosts the profits of producers.

Do not get me wrong, I generally like pumpkin flavored things. I just believe that corporations are selling us the feeling of fall instead of the quality taste we expect to pay for.  Any of the items that I reviewed or in the picture can be found at Walmart if you are looking to test my review and see if you feel any differently about them.