The leaves have shed their green skins and turned a golden brown. Every company tries to invent a new recipe involving pumpkin spice. This past week, I made a trip to my local Trader Joe's, grabbing every pumpkin-spiced item I could spot. Coming home, proudly splaying my items out on the table, I remembered I don't really like pumpkin spice. So why did I get so many pumpkin spice foods? Let's answer it together. 

Ariel Yue

Pumpkin spice is an annual obsession that runs through the world and most people seemingly accept it as part of fall culture. The few who have dared to challenge the greatness of pumpkin spice have more or less come up with three main arguments on why people are obsessed with this flavor. 

1. It's a once-a-year craze

Ariel Yue

There's a certain time of year when all grocery stores turn orange and the smell of cinnamon fills the air. It's during the fall when Starbucks sells Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Trader Joe's stocks up on everything pumpkin spice. The reactance theory tells us that because of this time limitation, people are more determined to taste this flavor before it hibernates again. Hence advertisements always go for the line, "Get it before it's gone!" 

2. We feel the need to belong

Ariel Yue

Thousands of people are definitely influenced by Instagram feeds filled with pumpkin patches and orange cookies and YouTube creators who obsess over Pumpkin Spice Lattes. These things increase our need for social conformity. We even associate the fairy lights and rusty red backgrounds of photos and videos with pumpkin spice foods. Companies have started to produce ridiculous numbers of pumpkin spice products in order to feed into the social media hype. Beware the dangers of social media.

One interesting fact is that spices used to be only for the wealthy. This is somewhat still true for people today. According to Beth Forrest, a professor at the Culinary Institute of America, "Today, the Pumpkin Spice Latte ties into that idea of conspicuous consumption. You can be the first one on your Facebook that has it."

3. It's addicting

pumpkin, sweet
Jocelyn Hsu

There is no pumpkin in pumpkin spice. Then what makes it so addicting? The high amount of sugar is the culprit. According to Livestrong, the smell and amount of sugar psychologically teaches a person this flavor is wonderful. This can explain why 200 million Pumpkin Spice Lattes have been sold since 2003. It's simply a combination of syrups, spices, and sugars to imitate the taste of pumpkin, yet you will hear people say, "I love pumpkin!" 

Ariel Yue

Whether you're trying to jump on the bandwagon or Starbucks' infamous drink is calling your name while you sleep, give this unique flavor a try and don't be afraid to love and share it! Don't have a Trader Joe's or Starbucks near you? Amazon sells pumpkin spice flavored foods and can deliver straight to your door! It's the perfect fall season, so soak all the pumpkin spice in while you can.