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Pumpkin spice warms up the autumn season

The autumn season is typically associated with corn mazes, apple cider, Halloween and the changing colors of the leaves. These days, pumpkin spice seems to fall into that category as well — and it has arrived once again.

No matter what you are looking for, you can probably find a pumpkin spice version of it. From coffee, candles, doughnuts, pancakes and ice cream, pumpkin spice is one of those flavors that consumers look forward to each fall equinox — and it shows no signs of going away any time soon.

This September marks pumpkin spice’s 10th anniversary — the beverage originally debuted at Starbucks in fall 2003. Since then, the trend has grown far beyond Starbucks; other companies have since capitalized on the fad as well.

Now pumpkin spice products can be found anywhere from coffee shops, grocery stores, McDonald’s and on campus at Einstein’s Bros. Bagels.

“It’s crazy,” said Einstein’s Bros. Bagels employee Emily Crawford. “People ask for it before it even comes out. We’re already out of the pumpkin spice cookies within two weeks of selling them. People love it.”

The pumpkin spice season usually lasts until the sellers run out of the flavor, which tends to be mid to late October, Crawford explained.

The fall favorite almost did not happen at all. When the executives of Starbucks were experimenting with new autumn drink ideas, pumpkin spice actually fell behind cinnamon spice and chocolate caramel in preference. However, Peter Dukes, the espresso brand manager for the company, insisted that the concoction could be successful.

“We cannot keep enough on the shelf. We are constantly running out of it,” Ashley Souerbry, manager of the College Hills Veterans & Von Maur Starbucks in Bloomington, said.

The season usually lasts about five weeks, but we keep selling it until it runs out, she added. The College Hills store launches its pumpkin spice season in two stages, starting in September, and can last as long as the beginning of November.

In addition to making yet another successful seasonal beverage, the Starbucks website has a section entitled “How do you know it’s fall?”

This lets website visitors tweet in their pre-hashtagged #itsfallwhen responses in an entertaining, collaborative way. It is safe to say this company knows exactly how to market its products and keep customers in high anticipation as summer ends and the temperatures get cooler.

The pumpkin spice phenomenon can be “liked” on Facebook, and a quick search on Twitter will bring up hundreds of results which can be found every hour.

Millions of Americans indulge in the mix of ginger, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves (with no actual pumpkin as an ingredient) every year, and has resulted in becoming one of Starbucks’s most popular seasonal drinks.

The Starbucks franchise has sold over 200 million pumpkin spice lattes since the company initially started selling them.

No matter how you spin it, the return of pumpkin spice products is a major indicator in how people know that fall is coming — and they eagerly await its return each year.

The popular Pumpkin Spice Latte returns to coffee shops. (Jake Johnson/ Photographer)

The popular Pumpkin Spice Latte returns to coffee shops. (Jake Johnson/ Photographer)

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