Return of the Attack of the Pumpkin-Flavored Food Monsters!

October 25, 2013

The leaves are changing color, the air is getting crisp, and everything at the grocery store suddenly has pumpkin in it, whether it works or not. It must be fall!

If you’ve been inside a grocery store or restaurant in the last couple of weeks, you’ve probably noticed the proliferation of pumpkin-flavored items. It’s been slowly building to cultural phenomenon levels since 2003. That’s when Starbucks introduced the Pumpkin Spice Latte—coffee, milk, and a syrup flavored with pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar. More than 200 million of the drinks have sold in the past 10 years, prompting other food manufacturers and sellers to unveil their own pumpkin-flavored concoctions. And it’s working: pumpkin products rake in more than $290 million every autumn.

Here are just a few of the many pumpkin items currently available.

• Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tarts
• Individual deep-fried pumpkin pies at McDonald’s
• Dunkin’ Donuts offers a pumpkin pie donut, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin donut holes, and pumpkin spice coffee
• Pumpkin Spice Pringles
• Pumpkin-flavored M&Ms and Hershey Kisses
• Crop’s Spiced Pumpkin vodka
• Pumpkin Spice Kahlua
• Thomas pumpkin bagels and English muffins
• Philadelphia-brand Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese
• “Jet-Puffed Pumpkin SpiceMallows”—pumpkin marshmallows
• Pumpkin Eggo Waffles
• Pastamaker Rossi sells pumpkin fettucine and ravioli
• Coffeemate pumpkin non-dairy creamer
• Jell-O Pumpkin Spice pudding mix
• Planters’ Pumpkin Spice Almonds
• Trader Joe’s is selling more than a dozen new pumpkin items this year, including pumpkin macarons, pumpkin butter, pumpkin oatmeal…and pumpkin dog treats

If you’d rather prepare your own pumpkin goodies, the October issue of Food Network Magazine contains a list of more than 50 things to do with canned pumpkin puree. There are old standbys, such as muffins and soup, as well as some more out-there options, such as pumpkin cucumber dip, quesadillas…and deviled eggs.