Starbucks, Panera offer pumpkin-flavored items early this fall

Ryan Hanson and Ryan Hanson

Fall means that every food humans know and love will come in some form of pumpkin flavor.

The Starbucks at the Union is no exception; they are offering up to ten different fall specials, half of which are pumpkin flavored.

Items like the pumpkin spiced latte, pumpkin loaf and pumpkin scones came in early this year. According to Karen Piotrowski, manager of the Union Starbucks, they received their fall-themed stock just after Labor Day and began selling them right away.

“[But] when the weather gets cooler we sell more pumpkin spiced lattes,” Piotrowski said.

Some students seem to think fall creates an inspiring atmosphere.

Qua’Shawna Smith, a Starbucks employee who stood in the notoriously long Union Starbucks line, said she loved the colors of fall.

“The leaves make even ugly places look pretty,” Smith said.

Students associate fall with pumpkins as well. Smith said that the fall season is associated with the orchard theme.

Every season has its theme and fall is orchard, which means apples and pumpkins, Smith said.

Von McKoy said that people are only going to go for pumpkins during the season. “[For example,] no one drinks eggnog outside of Christmas,” he said. Some items are only seasonal things, McKoy said.

Starbucks could have a lot of involvement in the pumpkin craze. Student Katie Dewey said Starbucks started the pumpkin latte phase and everyone else followed. Dewey said she visits the Union Starbucks frequently.

“You could say almost too much,” she said.

Student Kaitlin Holian said she thinks because the pumpkin spiced latte is popular companies are trying to make other pumpkin flavored things for consumers.

Whether or not Starbucks started the craze, students keep going back for more. According to Piotrowski, the same regulars return to the Union Starbucks for their fall favorites consistently. This could mean that a combination of atmosphere, weather and routine drive students toward these pumpkin flavored treats.

The manager at Panera Bread on South Main Street, Shay Nealia, said the pumpkin flavors might be so popular because of tradition.

“When you think of fall you think of pumpkin flavored things,” she said.

Panera Bread is also offering different types of pumpkin flavored foods, such as their version of the pumpkin spiced latte and a pumpkin muffin.

Despite the craze, the variety of pumpkin flavored options is strictly a seasonal treat.

Piotrowski said that it depends on how long they keep getting stock, but the Union Starbucks typically has the pumpkin spiced latte through the week of Thanksgiving.