America’s most popular squash—and a multitude of pumpkin flavored products—dominate autumn in the retail petroleum industry…and everywhere else, too.
I would rather sit on a pumpkin
and have it all to myself, than be
crowded on a velvet cushion.
— Henry David Thoreau
While we’re not sure that we’d be all that fond of sitting on a pumpkin as Henry David Thoreau states in the opening quote of this post—we’d go for the velvet cushion even if it was a little crowded—there’s no denying that the pumpkin, and a horde of pumpkin-spice flavored products (some tasting like anything but pumpkin) absolutely dominate food news this time of year. The orange (sometimes) squash and autumn go hand in hand, especially in the mind of the consumer, and we’re more than happy to drink the pumpkin flavored Kool-Aid. It’s delicious!
It’s easy to see how the pumpkin initially came to prominence at this time of year. There’s jack-o’-lanterns at Halloween and pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. But the whole pumpkin spice thing…well, that developed later. The Washington Post points to the Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte, introduced 15 years ago (!), for elevating the concept of adding the flavoring to, well, almost everything. (Disclosure: our staff has bottles of Starbuck’s pumpkin spice latte in our fridge right now.)
In case you’re wondering, the McCormick spice company introduced the original “Pumpkin Pie Spice” in 1934—a blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice—meant as a shortcut for “modern” homemakers, who at the needed to cram pie making into their busy Depression-era day of sewing up holes in old clothes, tending to “thrift gardens,” and hanging up clothes to wash. Additional facts related to the rise of pumpkin spice also can be found in the same article posted at the CookingLight website.
Now in the interest of being fair and balanced, we’re presenting this Forbes article, complete with chart, that argues the pumpkin spice craze has peaked and its popularity is irrevocably sliding downward. We’re skeptical—pages and pages of returned search items for the phrase “pumpkin spice” tends to do that—but we’ll let you weigh the evidence and come to your own conclusion.
Convenience store and other retailers have learned that capitalizing on the seasonal demand for new and unique pumpkin flavored products can seriously drive sales at the POS, and you can be certain that the manufacturers of said products are doing their best to entice their convenience store customers into purchasing them, and have been doing so in the months leading up to Pumpkin Season 2019. To provide the proof, here are some links to posts about the subject:
- Chowhound weighs in on the best and worst pumpkin spice products of the year.
- Southern Living does something similar adding, as you might imagine, a Southern twist.
- Vegan readers will appreciate this list of vegan pumpkin spice products.
- Food and Wine writes about the complicated relationship Americans have with pumpkin spice products.
- Stewart’s Shops, known all year around for its ice cream, adds not one, but two kinds of pumpkin flavors, in addition to the rest of its seasonal offerings.
- WebMD summarizes the health benefits of consuming pumpkin.
- And to close this list, we just had to place the spotlight on pumpkin spice spam.
If you are a long time reader of this blog, you know that SSCS‘s fondness for the pumpkin and pumpkin-related topics is almost as great as it is for our convenience store customers. Of course, we’re probably swayed by the fact that the most common variety is cloaked in something close to SSCS Orange. In fact we like pumpkins so much, we retrofitted it for a prototype SSCS ad! Hope you enjoy!