Forget politics, let’s debate pumpkin spice.

By Kat McDaniel, Principal at MEDiAHEAD

I don’t like pumpkin spice. There, I said it, go ahead and take me off your Christmas card list.

Never has a nation been so divided over an ingredient.

Just say NO to Pumpkin SpiceAfter Starbucks introduced the Pumpkin Spice Latte 20 years ago, it has become the undeniable start of the holiday season. It’s the coffee giant’s most popular seasonal beverage, with hundreds of millions of cups sold since its launch.

But pumpkin spice has jumped out of the coffee cup and has landed on almost every mass-marketed product this time of the year. Pumpkin spice now flavors everything from beer to pet treats, baby food, chewing gum, Pringles, M&M’s, and Oreos.

According to Nielsen research, 37 percent of US consumers purchased a pumpkin flavored product last year. Pumpkin pie filling still reigns as the king of pumpkin products with 131.26 million in sales last year.

Pumpkin spice also has equally passionate detractors – it ignites love and hate and that is what fuels this whole dynamic. Social conversations about Pumpkin Pie have increased by 88.59% over the past year!!

The Coffee That Tastes Like a Candle

Just say NO to Pumpkin SpiceJohn Oliver once called pumpkin spice lattes, “the coffee that tastes like a candle.” There is also a Facebook group called, “I Hate Pumpkin Spice” and t-shirts with slogans like, “Ain’t no pumpkin spice in my mug.”

But clearly, I am in the minority – only 8% of 20,000 posts mentioning pumpkin spice were negative.

I surveyed the employees at lunch today and only one was a pumpkin spice lover – I’m curious about the rest of you. What do you think about the flavor of pumpkin spice? Please let me know in the comments!

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