Like clockwork during the fall season, every Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, and just about every other coffee shop across the nation brings out the iconic Fall-favorite, the Pumpkin Spice Latte. Starbucks, the original pioneer of the PSL, gave the drink its debut in the Fall of 2003. Even today, the drink maintains its popularity, at a time when the trendy pumpkin spice flavor can be found on literally everything

Originally, Starbucks made the PSL with absolutely no pumpkin. That's right, the infamous pumpkin drink did not contain any traces of pumpkin. (A marketing ploy, if you ask me).

In 2014, a food reporter at NPR released an article exposing the truth behind the beloved fall drink. Starbucks, of course, got wind of the news as well as many other PSL-lovers and something had to be done. It wasn’t until 2015 when Starbucks decided to add real pumpkin puree to their recipe and honestly, it just feels a lot more authentic. After all, it is called a “pumpkin” spice latte for a reason!

What does this all mean?

The truth of the matter is, Starbucks may have changed their ways, but a lot of other pumpkin spice flavored foods and drinks don’t actually contain any pumpkin. In the end, it just feels a bit like betrayal for those who are obsessed with pumpkin-anything.

In order to really know if there is any actual pumpkin, you should always check the ingredients list first. I know you’re thinking, “well duh,” but hear me out. Almost every food item during the fall season tries to keep up with the trendy pumpkin spice flavor and due to its popularity and the expectation brought by its name, this can easily be overlooked. 

If you're walking down the grocery aisle and eye something "pumpkin-spiced," don't fall into the trap just because it's orange or shaped as a pumpkin. Not everything is what it seems on the outside and as cliche as it sounds, looks really can be deceiving if we're talking about pumpkin spice.

What is in pumpkin spice?

To clarify, pumpkin spice includes a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and ground cloves. These spices are traditionally used for pumpkin-based desserts, which put together, are the main reason behind that nostalgic taste.

Molly Gallagher

What happens now?

Essentially, if you or your friends don't like pumpkin and are turned off by the idea of pumpkin-spice anything, you now know the real truth. You can still enjoy certain pumpkin-spiced treats because not all of them contain any actual pumpkin. Like I said before, just make sure to check the ingredients list first.

Some pumpkin-spiced foods and drinks that don’t contain any pumpkin include, but are not limited to: OreosJell-O pudding, Milano cookies, Hershey’s Kisses, Special K cereal, and Dunkin' Donuts Pumpkin Swirl flavor shot.

Now, before you go out and try a pumpkin-spiced drink or food with this newfound knowledge, make sure to let your fellow Fall fanatics know the real truth about pumpkin spice, too.