Here we are, August 24th, just shy of one month until it is officially fall. (At least according to the calendar. It is not autumnal to me until I’ve worn at least one coat, sweater, jacket, or other long-sleeved garment.) Which means if you haven’t begun planning for pumpkin spice season you’re already behind the eight ball. Because it is here.
Like it or not, pumpkin spice comes for us all, each year a little earlier and with a new set of consumer goods getting a bizarre pumpkin spicing. That there is a pumpkin spiced Spam should tell you all you need to know about where this trend is heading. Or where brands think it is heading anyway. But that’s because, for all the backlash to it, pumpkin spice is incredibly popular. How popular? Depends on what state you live in.
In a new study, Bid On Equipment, an online clearinghouse of new and used industrial and manufacturing equipment of all things, analyzed Google searches for “pumpkin spice latte,” breaking down the findings by city and state, and then calculating the volume on a per capita basis. They found that, in general, the west coast curving around into parts of the southwest make up the America’s Pumpkin Spice Belt. The top five most PSL-obsessed states in order are: Washington, California, Colorado, Oregon, and Illinois, with Texas and Arizona coming in sixth and eighth, respectively.
Breaking down the numbers on a city level, though, the results are a bit more sporadic. Minneapolis leads the way, followed by Seattle, Miami, Atlanta, and Las Vegas.
The study also notes that, while many may grumble about the encroaching into summer of the PSL, searches for it jumped over 1,200% between July and August of 2021, peaking sometime in September. The people, it seems, are as sweaty to get their hands on the warming spices as the brands are to dole it out. Though the study does find that 69% of individuals in an August 2022 survey believe that month to be too early for PSLs to start rolling out.
Looking ahead at what could be getting the pumpkin spice treatment, the search data Bid On Equipment shows a sort-of 2022 buzzword maelstrom. The most searched for PSL-related term across the entirety of the United States was “keto pumpkin spice latte.” Lo-carb non-carb PSLs are destined to be the pre-workout drink du jour before pounding out 100 burpees at your local Crossfit box.
Who knows, maybe we’ll even get a pumpkin spice kettlebell. Stranger things have happened.