Pumpkin Spice Mania

The Pumpkin Spice Backstory

The pumpkin spice mania has taken our culture by storm. Back in 1996 McCormick combined several spices into one blend to create the pumpkin spice we know and love today. Starbucks began selling the Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) in 2003, and general sales of Pumpkin Spice everything have been on the rise ever since. Pumpkin spice is mix of ginger, nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, and sometimes actual pumpkin. Since the PSL went to market it’s estimated that Starbucks has sold 200 million cups, and each fall does 1 million in sales thanks to this gourmet product (purchase of pumpkin related food items and pumpkin spice typically peak in October).

The Benefits

It is widely known that cinnamon is not only delicious, but is considered a blood sugar stabilizer. Ginger is considered an anti-inflammatory, and cancer preventative. Consumption of nutmeg will help with digestion and sleep. Cloves can help prevent arthritis, help digestion, and is a powerful antioxidant.

Small Market, Big Market Sales

A little over 1/3 of the consumer market partakes in the pumpkin spice mania. Pumpkin spice is everywhere (beer, coffee, yogurts, and dog treats). Market data shows that the sale of pumpkin spice items continues to soar YoY. The markets have enjoyed ~10% growth annually, and last year it was reported $361 million in pumpkin spice related sales. The continued growth can widely be attributed to the Starbucks PSL, as well as new brands and products jumping in to the pumpkin craze. What’s interesting though, is that as the pumpkin spice market continues to skyrocket, actual pumpkin sales are down. According to the USDA:

U.S. pumpkin planted area, total in top six States:

  • 2013: 52,600 acres (20,400 in Illinois, 6,600 in Michigan)
  • 2014: 50,900 acres (20,100 in Illinois, 6,700 in Ohio)
  • 2015: 43,200 acres (15,000 in Illinois, 6,400 in Ohio)

U.S. farm value of pumpkin production, total in top six States:

  • 2013: $149 million ($47m in Illinois, $30m in California)
  • 2014: $143 million ($47m in Illinois, $26m in California)
  • 2015: $90 million ($26m in California, $15m in Pennsylvania)


USDA Pumpkin Sales Chart


As pumpkin mania continues to flourish, I guarantee we’ll see new pumpkin products on the market this October. Frankly, I can’t wait. Cheers!