The Pumpkin Epidemic

By Jessica Bone, Features Writer

Boots, leggings, and pumpkin spice – OH MY! Ladies and gentlemen (mostly ladies), September 23rd marks the first official day of fall! But what is it that truly marks the change in season? Some may say it is the beautiful color change of the leaves and the cooler weather. Others might be more inclined to say the shift in season arrives once the shelves begin to drip orange with “Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice” labels on all processed food aisles. What once was just a latte has now stormed through the shelves and spread to everything. Nestle, Kellogg’s, Thomas Breads, Pepperidge Farm, Quaker, Pillsbury and Hostess are just a few of the companies pushing pumpkin spice on us all. Some of our favorite products: Oreos, Peeps, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, M&M’s, Pop-tarts and Jif Whips Peanut Butter have all been infected with the pumpkin spice virus.

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Who is responsible for this pumpkin epidemic and how have consumers not put a halt to the inevitable spread of the flavoring? We can thank Starbucks for unleashing the pumpkin spice virus by releasing the first Pumpkin Spice Latte back in 2003. Though the Pumpkin Spice Latte is tasty and delicious, Starbucks had no way of predicting that the warm drink would transform into an epidemic. There are other “Fall Flavor” contenders in the mess of processed foods such as caramel apple and pecan pie, but they just cannot put up the same fight.

The virus is even spreading to industries outside of food! Candles, car air fresheners, and various soaps are all turning to the pumpkin spice scent. You can hide your kids and you can hide your wife, but clearly there is no escape from the widespread epidemic this early in the season. Perhaps a pumpkin shortage may occur next summer and will cut off the virus. Unfortunately, excessive hand washing after being in public and covering one’s cough will not help with this epidemic. Experts are not sure what should be more worrisome: how easily the pumpkin spice virus spread to an incredible amount of products or how the Environmental Engineers will react when the waste water they treat comes to them orange for the remainder of fall.