Unless you have been living under a rock the past few years, you will have no doubt heard of 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? My first destination was The Bean Café , and when I asked the proprietor of the coffee shop James Gilmore about the hot flavor, he 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.
Travelling further down South Street, I stopped by the Sweet Life Bake Shop and when I checked in to see how well pumpkin spice flavored treats were selling at the bakery, 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.
Then there is a staple of modern day South Street for those of us over the age of 18: Condom Kingdom. If you have come down South Street, chances are you have seen the large store with it’s emblazoned metal gates as it’s front door. Surely such a large place with so many varieties of unmentionable items must have products that was swayed by the popularity, right? Yet when I went inside to search for pumpkin/pumpkin spice flavored condoms on a tip, I sadly came away empty-handed. According to the cashiers of the establishment, such a thing was did not exist.
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. Or at the very least, South Street. 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 for years to come.
Photo Credit: Brian Maiorana