Updated Aug 18, 2022 - Economy & Business

Pumpkin spice season starting earlier than ever

Illustration of a pumpkin spice latte in a to go cup sitting in a flamingo pool float.
Illustration: Victoria Ellis/Axios

Summer isn't over yet but pumpkin spice season is off to an earlier-than-ever start.

The big picture: Despite this year's record heat and the weeks left of summer, the arrival of pumpkin spice signals the unofficial start of fall for some.

  • It also kicks off the annual debate over whether it’s too soon for fall flavors and if "pumpkin everything" fanfare has gone too far.
  • According to a 2021 survey by Nissin Foods, more than 50% of Gen Z respondents are obsessed with all things pumpkin spice.

Driving the news: Dunkin' announced Aug. 10 that it would launch its fall menu Aug. 17 with the return of the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, Pumpkin Spice Signature Latte and pumpkin doughnuts and muffins.

State of play: Dunkin’s fall menu also has a new Nutty Pumpkin Coffee and Blood Orange Dunkin’ Refresher, with “subtle notes of fall spices, like ginger and cinnamon” with tart cranberry with blood orange flavor.

What they’re saying: “We see Dunkin’ fans’ anticipation of fall grow more and more each year,” said Jill Nelson, Dunkin’ vice president of marketing and culinary, in a statement.

  • “This season, we’re bringing them a lineup that’s sure to delight even our most passionate and excited fall enthusiasts,” Nelson said.

Deal alert: From Aug. 17 through Sept. 13, get a medium Dunkin' Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew or Pumpkin Spice Signature Latte for $3.

When is pumpkin spice season?

The season keeps moving earlier, and while Dunkin's 2022 fall menu launches a day earlier than last year, it's 10 days earlier than in 2018.

  • Bath & Body Works started selling fall scents in July.
  • Many pumpkin items will be available at restaurants until they start holiday menus, which usually happens in early November.

Flashback: The pumpkin spice craze was born 19 years ago, when Starbucks debuted its Pumpkin Spice Latte — or PSL for short — in 2003.

Dunkin’ Goldfish grahams and pumpkin creamer

Dunkin’ has two new pumpkin products — coffee creamer and Goldfish crackers — that will be sold in grocery stores for the first time.

  • Limited-edition Goldfish Dunkin’ Pumpkin Spice Grahams will be available starting Sept. 1 at stores nationwide for a suggested retail price of $3.39 per bag.
  • There’s also a way to buy them early at noon ET Thursday on TikTok, according to a news release.
  • The new Pumpkin Munchkin Creamer is available nationwide for a limited time in 32-ounce bottles.
Oreo Pumpkin Spice cookies for sale

Oreo brought back its pumpkin spice sandwich cookie on Aug. 15 after the brand announced the return Aug. 3 on Twitter and Instagram.

  • It’s the first time the limited-edition flavor cookie will be available since 2017.
Krispy Kreme pumpkin spice latte, doughnuts return

Krispy Kreme kicked off its pumpkin spice season Aug. 8, a month earlier than in 2021.

  • The chain’s lineup includes the returning Pumpkin Spice Latte, available hot, iced or frozen, and new Pumpkin Spice Iced Coffee along with four pumpkin-flavored doughnuts.

What they’re saying: “Sure, pumpkin spice is generally associated with fall, but true fans of the flavor will agree that August is close enough!” Dave Skena, Krispy Kreme’s global chief brand officer, said in a statement.

7-Eleven pumpkin coffee

7-Eleven was one of the first to bring back pumpkin in 2022 and announced the limited-time return of its Pumpkin Spice Latte and Pumpkin Spice Coffee last week.

  • The coffees also are available at participating Speedway and Stripes stores.
Starbucks pumpkin, fall products return to stores

Meanwhile, Starbucks has not unveiled when its fall menu and PSL will launch, but products are starting to land on grocery store shelves.

  • The coffee giant announced Tuesday that “fall Starbucks flavored coffees and creamers are back on grocery store shelves for a limited time only."

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional pumpkin products.

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