Pumpkin Spice Season Returns Yet Again: Here Are Some of the 2023 Highlights
by Rudy Sanchez on 09/05/2023 | 7 Minute Read
The start of the autumn season is usually marked by a change of colors to tree leaves, the air getting colder, and the days slowly getting shorter.
Fall favorites returning to store shelves and fast food chains also used to signify the season's changing. However, brands have slowly crept up the start of PSL SZN (Pumpkin Spice Latte Season) into mid-August, while the mercury is still near year highs in much of the country, weeks before Labor Day, and over a month before the fall equinox, which occurs on September 23rd this year.
Pumpkin spice reached a milestone in 2023, of course. It's the 20th anniversary of Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte, and the QSR coffee chain’s seasonal item perhaps did the most to spread the phenomenon across many consumer product categories, even trash bags.
Once again, the broad collection of pumpkin-spiced products that are new to us just proves that the autumn-ish flavor sensation continues to captivate consumers. Below is a selection of this year’s pick from the pumpkin patch.
Death Wish Pumpkin Chai Coffee
Coffee and pumpkin spice are a popular combination, so it’s no surprise that every year has a bumper crop of related seasonal products.
Coffee brand Death Wish is bringing a bit of a harder edge to PSL SZN with its Pumpkin Chai coffee. The seasonal java juice combines Death Wish’s coffee beans with cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg for a warm, spicy taste.
Death Wish’s customary black bags and skull and crossbones logo paired with jack-o-lanterns and orange are as fitting visually as pumpkin spice and coffee are on the palate.
Big wave surfer Laird Hamilton’s superfood brand offers various vegan, dairy-free, GMO-free, and paleo-friendly creamers made with real food ingredients and free of artificial ingredients, colors, or flavors.
Packaging for Laird’s Pumpkin Spice creamer features an orange-dominated color palette and replaces the typical tropical foliage on the packaging with fall-familiar graphics of leaves and pumpkins.
Laird’s seasonal pumpkin offerings include a pumpkin spice protein plus adaptogens bar with a similar orange take as the creamer.
Known for its creamy, Greek-style yogurt, Chobani has proven it has a solid plant-based game over recent years.
Chobani also comes strong for the season with a line of limited-time pumpkin spice products. Chobani adds Pumpkin Spice Oatmilk to its other pumpkin spice creamers, yogurt, and snack cups.
Like its other offerings, the Pumpkin Spice Oatmilk carton features a pleasant illustration with a slightly whimsical feel that gives off a friendly attitude. The illustration on the packaging incorporates fall icons like leaves and pumpkins into Chobani’s typically playful brand universe.
Cardi-B-backed vodka-infused whipped cream brand Whipshots offers a new take on PSL with a seasonal flavor, inviting customers to make themselves a “pumpkin spiked latte.”
The packaging comes bathed in a pumpkin-inspired orange hue with a label design reminiscent of spirits bottles. Type is in white and neatly set across the front with a pumpkin icon and a photograph of a tempting dollop of whipped cream at the bottom.
Snack brand Dalci makes brownie and blondie treats made from whole food ingredients that are minimally processed. Dalci calls its label “cleaner than clean,” and its products are Non-GMO Project certified.
Dalci offers a pumpkin spice blondie for fall that, unlike many other pumpkin-spiced products, includes actual pumpkin puree and not just a clove-dominant flavoring.
The packaging fits alongside the rest of Dalci’s range, save for some autumnal touches, including a rich pumpkin-inspired color and a jack-o-lantern that replaces the dot above the “i” in the brand logo.
Krispy Kreme Pup’kin Spice Doggie Doughnuts
Brands aren’t leaving our canine companions out of PSL SZN; Krispy Kreme is the first on this year’s list.
Known for its melt-in-your-mouth doughnuts, hot and freshly made throughout the day, the doggie doughnuts are crunchy and high-temperature baked (dogs love chewing on things) and made with human-grade, pup-friendly ingredients like peanuts, carob (instead of chocolate), and real pumpkin. While nutmeg is a significant component of pumpkin spice, it's bad for dogs and not used in the doggie doughnuts.
The specially designed doughnut boxes feature graphics like pumpkins, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and dogs on the lower half. The top half retains the familiar Krispy Kreme white background and logo.
Pumpkin Spice Dog Brew by Busch
Busch is another brand thinking of our furry friends this autumn. The beer brand has brewed a new liquid doggie treat based on pumpkin spice.
Pumpkin Spice Dog Brew contains no alcohol or other ingredients bad for pooches and is made only from pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, and water.
The can labels feature the familiar mountain peaks from Busch’s human fare sitting atop a bone graphic. You'll find the pumpkin theme throughout the design, including the color palette and use of on-theme graphics like pumpkins, Ugg boots, and leaves.
Chosen Foods Pumpkin Spice Oil Caviar
Traditional caviar is a decadent and indulgent treat made of salted roe and is typically served as a garnish or spread over small pieces of bread or—why not—even Doritos. The small, salty fish eggs are usually considered savory and known to have a mild flavor reminiscent of the ocean.
Chosen Foods’ latest caviar is none of those things. The avocado-focused brand’s Pumpkin Spice Avocado Oil Caviar is vegan, spicy, and warm. While the pumpkin spiced caviar made from avocado oil would certainly be tasty slathered over crostinis or atop blinis, Chosen Foods also recommends it with ice cream or anything needing a precious hit of pumpkin spice.
Using a small, clear glass jar allows Chosen Foods' caviar's light orange, pumpkin-like color to shine. The label on top of the metal lid is kept simple and, in addition to listing ingredients, includes the logo and a large pumpkin.
Tree Hut Café Collection
You don’t have to just PSL SZN with beverages or snacks. Tree Hut brings the PSL experience to the bath with a fall café-inspired product line, including two pumpkin spice items, a sugar scrub, and a foaming gel wash.
The jar for the sugar scrub features an orange lid and an orange color on the label. The foaming gel has a geometric pattern for a background in a color palette with that familiar fall feeling.
Dude Wipes Dumpkin Spice
Pumpkin spice is generally coded feminine and considered a “basic Becky” beverage. Research by Montclair State University shows that social media posts are roughly split evenly between men and women, with only 8% of total posts demonstrating a negative sentiment.
It appears that guys like pumpkin spice lattes, too, even if they apparently feel they must whisper their PSL order to the barista sheepishly.
Dude Wipes is giving customers a chance to smell like fall and clean up after bio-breaks with “Dumpkin Spice” seasonally-scented wipes.
The packaging is fun and includes a pumpkin sitting on a toilet with crossed-out eyes and an open mouth, and they describe it as having “clove, nutmeg, and other fall scents.”
Mama Lupe’s Pumpkin Spice Tortilla
Pumpkins have grown in Mexico for millennia. Pumpkin seeds that date back somewhere between 7,000-5,500 BC have been found in Mexico, and the gourd remains a popular ingredient in Mexican cuisine, including the roasted seeds and candied flesh.
You won't typically find pumpkin spice flour tortillas in the Aztec nation’s cuisine, but Kansas-based brand Mama Lupe’s is going for it anyway. The packaging is pretty basic, featuring orange, an illustration of a pumpkin surrounded by spices, and a photograph of a dessert with a sweet filling wrapped in tortillas and topped with whipped cream.
Besides coffee, breakfast cereal makes a great candidate for the spice of the season. Cinnamon is no stranger to cereal, and the warmth of nutmeg and spice of clove pair well with the earthy, bready, baked flavor inherent in the breakfast staple.
Magic Spoon joins PSL SZN with a seasonal Pumpkin Spice cereal flavor.
The front of the Pumpkin Spice box comes with an illustration of a scarecrow with a pumpkin head riding what appears to be a coyote in the brand’s signature style. The art for the rest of the panels features the same autumnal theme.
Some folks love pumpkin spice so much that coffee, snacks, cereal, dog treats, and bath products aren’t enough. These pumpkin spice heads can get their fall fix with Simply Gum’s seasonal flavor.
Like other Simply Gum flavors, the pumpkin spice flavor is made with natural ingredients, including chicle instead of plastic, which the major brands often use.
Packaging follows suit with the rest of Simply Gum’s range with a stark white background, crisp typography, and a stack of pumpkins in the center. The minimal, almost Apple-like presentation has worked for Simply, and its pumpkin spice variation is no exception.