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Is pumpkin spice as dusty and out of date as an old Halloween decoration? Credit: Brian Maiorana

From holiday to holiday, we find ourselves enraptured in the months they reside in and what they have to bring. December has us nibbling on gingerbread and sipping hot chocolate. The mere thought of November can even give one the wafting scent of turkey, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. Then, of course, there is October with the scent of fallen leaves and pumpkin. Perhaps it was that correlation to pumpkin that made the pumpkin spice flavor the craze it has evolved into the past few years.

Unless you have been living under a rock the past few years, you will have no doubt heard or seen products at your local ACME or Dunkin’ Donuts that have been engulfed by the flavor sensation that has been sweeping the nation. With it being found in products ranging from potato chips to even toothpaste, pumpkin seems almost akin to the Halloween horror icon The Blob as it pulls more and more into its ever-growing amorphous mass each year. Even in the city of Philadelphia, local businesses are using the flavor in their products to try and spice up interest in their businesses. But is interest in the product still strong enough to pull people in or is it beginning to wane?

South Street is known by those young and old as well as the businesses that run up and down the busy street. From ice cream shops and bakeries to bars and cafés, there’s something to be found for anyone there. What better place to find out how pumpkin spice has been integrated into the local culture and these locally owned businesses? When asked how popular pumpkin spice products were at The Bean Café, the proprietor of the coffee shop James Gilmore said “Well it’s more a pumpkin flavor than pumpkin spice but yeah, it’s still very popular.” This rings true with the Nielsen data, as pumpkin flavored products have seen an increase of 94% spanning from 2016 to 2017.

Meanwhile, at the Sweet Life Bake Shop, employee Megan Kennedy said “Oh it’s super popular, though we don’t have any right now. We have a bunch of flavors and our sweet potato cupcakes sell even better.” According to Nielsen data, as the pumpkin flavor’s explosion is beginning to slow, other autumn flavors have begun to rise, such as maple. Perhaps next year, we’ll be seeing sweet potato products crowding the store shelves where pumpkin once reigned supreme.

As is, it appears as though pumpkin and pumpkin spice is a flavor that just won’t quit and will be popular among the masses into the foreseeable future, both in Philadelphia and across the country. Will it be as popular as it is right now? Judging by the consumer data, it most likely won’t be. As with most fads, interest in the flavor will ebb just as it does with everything. But for those who love it or love to hate it, pumpkin spice will always be there for you to sink your teeth into or roll your eyes at.

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