Pumpkin pie used to be the “go to” food choice of people in the fall. During the holidays it was the one food we could always count on when dessert was an option. But at some point that all changed. Perhaps it was the rise of the Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte or maybe it was the introduction of the pumpkin-spiced food that appears en masse at Trader Joe’s every September. Whatever the catalyst was for the pumpkin-flavored craze, it has become a $500 million seasonal industry and is nearly impossible to ignore once fall arrives.
Pumpkin-flavored foods are not inherently bad, though. In fact, many of them are delicious. Unfortunately, the craze has gotten a little bit out of control and we are now left questioning why someone would want to smother their toast in pumpkin flavoring or gulp down an alcohol-infused pumpkin spice spirit.
Pumpkin Spice Sparkling Water? No Thanks
Pumpkin spice beverages are not typically the most healthy option on the menu. For example, drinking a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbuck’s is really no different than scarfing down a chocolate bar. The sugar and other ingredients added to achieve the pumpkin spice flavor will set you back in the calorie department. So it was only a matter of time before zero-calorie pumpkin beverages appeared. In 2015, Clear American released “Pumpkin Spice” sparkling water with zero calories, zero sodium, etc. The drink came with “natural flavors” but customers who tried the drink said it lacked all of the substance they would expect from the popular fall flavor. We really have gone too far with pumpkin and pumpkin spice flavors in recent years!
Silk With Pumpkin Spice? It’s An Alternative To An Alternative
Silk is a milk alternative that is mostly consumed by vegans or people who are lactose intolerant. The soy-based product is plant-derived, free of cholesterol, and low in saturated fat. It also doesn’t taste anything like milk, as much as its creators would like to have us believe it does. So how do you take the milk competitor and make it taste even less like the dairy cow provided beverage? You throw in some pumpkin spice and market it for the holidays. Reviewers note that the texture of this drink is weird and it tastes more like cinnamon pancakes than pumpkin spice.
Pumpkin Spice Hummus Is a Tough Choice
When we think of hummus a few things come to mind, like garlic, tahini, and olives. There are only a handful of known ingredients that really mix well with chickpeas to create what we would consider a traditional and amazing-tasting hummus. The team at Cedar’s decided to create a hummus that sidesteps tradition in favor of a pumpkin spice flavor. It really begs the question as to what we would even put this hummus on. There are already plenty of pumpkin spiced flavored bread and chips and adding this product to them would be a bit overkill for our palettes.
A Sparkling Spice Drink From Welch’s? We’ll Stick To Grape
This is one of those products that was obviously created as a recurring holiday money grab. Tasters have said it is sweet tasting and smells like a pumpkin spice drink but that’s where the experience ends. One taste tester said it tasted heavily of apple or grape flavoring but completely lacked the pumpkin spice experience. There is also an Aldi version that is less sweet and packs more of the pumpkin spice flavoring if you have your heart set on a sparkling pumpkin treat for the holiday.
The Burger King Pumpkin Burger Is A Thing That Existed
Burger King Japan made the bold move of flavoring a hamburger with actual pumpkin slices. In a press release, the company debuted two burgers, the BK Pumpkin, and it’s bigger, more pumpkin-filled brother, Pumpkin Bomb. Both burgers featured beef patties, fried kabocha pumpkin slices, bacon, and lettuce. The burgers were then topped with a nut sauce made with sesame seeds, peanuts, almonds, cashews, and hazelnuts. The biggest difference between the two? The Pumpkin Bomb featured 10 slices of pumpkin instead of five. At least unlike Americanized foods they didn’t just add more patties and bacon, although the bacon/pumpkin combo actually intrigues our tastebuds.
Why Does A Dog Need A Pumpkin Flavored Treat
Okay, we totally understand that a lot of dogs like the taste of pumpkin but a “pumpkin-flavored” dog treat seems like nothing more than a sales gimmick. Our dogs would probably rather have a bacon flavored or steak flavored anything. Pumpkin is something you give your dog when they are begging for a bite during jack-o-lantern carving, not during a shopping trip to Trader Joe’s. Also, they totally care that the treats are in the shape of pumpkins as the packaging clearly showcase—because our pets are that vain. Let’s face it, these treats are totally more for the owner’s enjoyment.
Pumpkin Flavored Pringles Is A Halloween Trick Right?
We had the “privilege” to try Pumpkin Pie Spice Pringle’s and the only thing worth buying this product was the familiar scene. The smell might make you think a winner is about to be crowned but the moment you bite into this strange concoction you will realize that the salty power of a regular Pringles chip is too overpowering for the amount of pumpkin pie spice being offered. Eat an entire can in one sitting (don’t look at us that way, we had to test it out) and you’ll quickly realize the only aftertaste is exactly what you would get from a regular can of Pringles.
Pumpkin Spice Vodka Is Definitely A Drink, We Think
If you hate yourself and you’re alone for the holidays then this is the drink for you! Upon the first taste, you’ll notice something absently missing—the actual taste of pumpkin pie that is promised on the bottle. In all fairness, the beverage is recommended for cocktail mixes, although the only thing we could think to mix with this product with is self-loathing and despair. On a positive note, you can pick up a bottle for $12.99 which makes it worth a quick purchase so you can experience all Pinnacle has to offer on your own.
Pumpkin Spice Gum Proves We Have Gone Too Far
In all fairness to Wrigley’s, there is a split camp on this gum. Some Amazon reviewers have raved about the flavor while others have said the taste doesn’t last more than a minute. Truthfully, we can’t find any reason you would want to keep the continuous flavor of gum in your mouth for long periods of time. If you’re looking to satiate your need for pumpkin flavoring for the entire fall season this is probably right up your alley. The rest of us will stick to Starbuck’s pumpkin spice lattes and actual pumpkin pies which taste way more authentic for just the right amount of time.
The Halloween Choco Potato Fries From McDonald’s
The “Halloween Choco Potato” fries from McDonald’s only debuted in Japan and apparently, they decided to stay there. This creation offered a unique double flavoring package which was sprayed onto the fries by the customer. Customer reviews from non-Japanese customers said the fries were “okay” and “fine” and “different.” It’s not a glowing review but probably still better tasting than some of the other products on our list. Quite a few people said the pumpkin flavoring didn’t really taste like pumpkin but they seemed to like the chocolate flavoring from the second sauce.
M&M’s Pumpkin Spice Latte
M&M’s tried to spice up their pumpkin concoction by adding some latte flavoring. Customer reviews have called this creation “flat” and noted that it “sure featured some kind of spice.” If you are going to create a pumpkin spice product it should probably actually taste like pumpkin spice. This is disappointing because there are plenty of new and exciting M&M flavors that we absolutely love and buy whenever they come around for their respective seasons.
Branch’s Candy Corn With Pumpkin Spice
This should have been a winner. There is no candy more engrained into Halloween culture than candy corn, just watch “Sabrina The Teenage Witch’ for proof—a river of candy corn anyone? And pumpkin spice is the new flavor of fall. Together, however, they fail to deliver a consistent experience. Our favorite Amazon review for the product perfectly nailed the final product: “I love pumpkin spice, I love candy corn. I do not like pumpkin spice candy corn. It tastes like they took the smell from a candle booth in a run-down flea market and packed it into little candy corn textured candies. No Thank you.” Ouch, that stings.
Werther’s Original Harvest Caramels: Pumpkin Spice Soft Caramels
This was a product that should have been a clear winner. Nothing says fall treat like caramel and pumpkin spice flavors. Unfortunately, customers quickly complained that the candy tasted exactly like caramel and nothing like pumpkin spice. On a positive note, if you don’t like the lack of pumpkin spice flavoring you can still melt this candy down and use it for caramel apples. At least this product doesn’t come with some “limited edition” price tag which means fans of the original can try it out on their own and still enjoy whatever taste they are left with without losing out on any cash.
Keebler Fudge Stripes with Pumpkin Spice
I was personally disappointed with this product when I first tried it. It’s basically a fudge stripes product with pumpkin spice flavoring thrown in. The cookie features too much frosting flavor and a fudge bottom but lacks any real cookie taste. I wasn’t alone in my assessment either. Reviewers noted that this cooking creation is “all icing and very little cookie.” An Amazon review adds, “I did try one — it’s like a mouthful of chemical-tasting, super sweet icing and no cookie. They’re already in the trash. What a disappointment.” Keebler is just one company in a long list of food manufacturers who somehow think just adding pumpkin spice to an already existing product somehow makes it a fall winner.
Simply Beyond Spray-On-Spice: Pumpkin Spice Edition
We have to hand it to the team at Simply Beyond. They took the pumpkin spice trend to its inevitable conclusion. The company has created a food-friendly spray-on-spice that makes any food you are eating taste like fall. Even after creating this Autumn addition the company warns customers to spray a small surface area for testing purposes. That’s the same warning that we see on carpet cleaning products and aerosol cans. Obviously, this is digestible friendly but that warning pretty much sums up the point of this entire article—just because you can add pumpkin and pumpkin spice flavoring to everything, it doesn’t mean you should. At least it’s organic?
The Pumpkin Spice Burger
The Pumpkin Spice Latte Burger is a DIY project for your taste palette. Not available in stores (thankfully), this product was the creation of food blog PornBurger. The final product features pumpkin aoli and pumpkin spiced duck bacon. So let me get this straight, they took two already-delicious products—beef and bacon—then completely bastardized them by covering the burger in the taste of fall. Umami created a take on this burger and even released a statement poking fun at their own creation. The company urged “diners to throw on their Ugg boots on the way to yogilates” while stopping in for a bite. When pumpkin spice starts encroaching on beef and bacon we are not okay with it. Period.
Because All Those Easter Peeps Going Stale In Your Cupboard Weren’t Enough
Peeps are one of those foods we’re happy to see come around only during Easter. You get a little box of them in your basket, you eat one of them to remember how awful they taste and then you move on with your life. The folks at Peeps think differently, however. Just in time for the Autumn season, and strategically placed about midway from Peter Cottontails holiday, we now have Pumpkin Spice Latte Peeps that have been dipped in “decadent white fudge.”
Pretty Much Every Pumpkin Spice Whey Protein Ever
We have to admit that there are a few good reviews for each of these products on the web. With that being said, the reviews were left by people who think whey protein tastes good in the first place. The more food connoisseurs of the bunch, though, have admitted that the pumpkin spice flavoring tastes nothing like pumpkin spice. One Amazon reviewer aptly noted, “this pumpkin spice flavor tastes like an unnatural, spice.” There is definitely a market for pumpkin spice flavoring in whey proteins if simply for the fact that most people drinking the stuff are used to weird flavorings and textures.
Kale Chips With Pumpkin Spice
First, we’re pretty sure a bunch of product happy sales people worked with some bored food scientists to come up with the idea for pumpkin-spiced flavored Kale Chips. They have pretty much all of the buzzwords that a health-conscious lover would buy into though: organic, kale, pumpkin spice. This is pretty much the hipster equivalent of food nirvana. The problem? Kale is not supposed to taste sweet and pumpkin spice shouldn’t be found in a chip as we learned with Pringle’s take on the PSL. There are definitely some specific demographics that will swear by this chip though, and they are the same people who claim their veganism heals sickness and gives them better karma.
Apple Pumpkin Granola Mix
This product is a warning about taking a good idea and turning it into a flavorless mess. Reviewers have been quick to point out that the pumpkin flavor from this treat was completely lacking and the product tasted just like cardboard. If you are going to combine apples and pumpkins, two of the most iconic fall season foods of all time, you better get it right. Sure, the granola doesn’t taste bad in this product, and it’s pretty healthy, but when you just throw in fall flavoring for the heck of it, you are going to lose more than you win.