America’s pumpkin obsession

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, September 2, 2015

With fall around the corner, you can expect to see pumpkin infused into every product imaginable such as coffee, candles, beer, pastries and bath gels. While I anxiously wait for the release of pumpkin lattes from Starbucks and bath products from Bath and Body Works, I often wonder, when did society’s pumpkin craze first begin?

After some digging, I learned pumpkins gained popularity during the 19th century when Americans moved away from rural life to pursue industrial jobs in the cities, according to At that time, pumpkins served as nostalgia, reminding people of their life back on the farm.

Pumpkins are edible squash plants, native to warm regions across the United States. Years ago, pumpkins were harvested for food and later became a symbol for fall, a craft item for Halloween and an addition to every meal.

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Nowadays, big corporations are using America’s obsession with pumpkin to their advantage. Every year, it seems as though more companies are jumping on the pumpkin bandwagon and riding off into the moneymaking sunset.

But I’m not complaining. I’m one of those consumers who waits all year to enjoy pumpkin-spiced products, which remind me of the holiday season. The familiar taste and smell rings in the season and reminds us of a time when cooler temperatures and cozy sweaters will soon replace hot days and swimsuits.

Here’s a fun fact, while pumpkin spice is infused into almost every edible product, most of the time, real pumpkin isn’t used.

Starbuck’s and other food chains recently announced that they plan to use real pumpkin without artificial caramel coloring in their lattes and food products.

It’s great to see so many chains use natural products, which would not only taste better but also add nutritional value to the drinks and foods we love.

At the rate we’re going, it seems America’s pumpkin obsession will continue for many years to come.