It’s fall and for almost 20 years, that has been synonymous with Pumpkin Spice everything. But why?
The story of Pumpkin Spice’s popularity is actually fascinating. How does a rather obscure flavor become so popular, so ridiculed, and the touchstone of being “basic?”
Believe it or not, Pumpkin Spice as a flavor isn’t new. The flavor was created by McCormick in 1934, and was called Pumpkin Pie Spice. It contains ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice.
The flavor didn’t become a household name or a fall tradition until the early 2000s, and it owes its popularity to your favorite place to find it — Starbucks.
In 2003, Starbucks introduced the Pumpkin Spice Latte, and they didn’t introduce it because the flavor was popular or well-loved. They were looking for a unique new flavor that would be seasonal that they could put their stamp on.
The Pumpkin Spice Latte took off. The reason you see it as a flavor and scent for all things fall nowadays is rather simple — when Starbucks found success with Pumpkin Spice, other companies copied the coffee chain and rode a Pumpkin Spice wave all the way to the bank.
So, why does America love pumpkin spice? Because America loves — and falls for — marketing and advertising. Because of Starbucks and good old-fashioned marketing, Pumpkin Spice has become as synonymous with fall as eggnog at Christmas.
It has gone from a seasonal gimmick to a fall tradition. As criticized and parodied as it may be, Pumpkin Spice is probably here to stay.
More: Here’s a funny parody video about America’s new favorite fall staple.