Pumpkins are growing popular

The pumpkin trend continues to grow as the weather becomes cooler. Social Studies teacher Kevin Williams has a pumpkin on a table in his classroom.
The pumpkin trend continues to grow as the weather becomes cooler. Social Studies teacher Kevin Williams has a pumpkin on a table in his classroom. Photo by Ashley Han.

By Lanna Kozlowski,
HUB Correspondent–

The Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks has the fresh smell of espresso, pumpkin and just a hint of cinnamon floating on the whip cream. Then there is the Pumpkin Smash from Jamba Juice with a smooth blend of fresh pumpkin, vanilla ice cream, milk and warm nutmeg.

And lets not forget the classic pumpkin pie! With all these options available, students have definitely taken notice.

“I think it’s a very styling trend,” junior Vivian Crow said.

According to Nielsen, a global marketing research firm, U.S. alone had a 19 percent increase in pumpkin-flavored item sales last year. This came out to more than $290 million in total revenue.

“[Pumpkin popularity] has grown amongst all consumer segments,” Meg Johnson, a researcher for Nielsen, said.

According to Crow commented that all the pumpkin buzz was mostly from girls and boys were not interested in the trend as much.

You can see many girls walk down the halls of Davis High with a Starbucks cup, especially on late-start Wednesdays.

Nielsen’s research shows pie filling is still the most popular use for pumpkin but it’s closely followed by coffee, cream, baking mixes and beer. As for Starbuck’s seasonal Pumpkin Spice Latte, Nielsen says, since making the debut of the beverage 10 years ago, Starbucks has sold more than 200 million, making it their most popular drink yet.

“I have a friend who drinks Pumpkin Spice Lattes three times a week,” eighth grader Samantha Needham said.

Nielsen has noted some unconventional, but growingly popular uses for this fall treat. They include frozen waffles, milk and ice cream.

“Pumpkin ice cream, cake and maybe even a car scent would be a cool idea for more pumpkin themed stuff,” Crow said.

Despite the increase in popularity of this seasonal favorite, the crop value of pumpkins has slightly decreased from 2010 to 2011 in California, according to Thomas Turini from the University of California Cooperative Extension in Fresno, has commented on research showing many farmers do not sell as many pumpkins as they used to.

Even though the value per unit has gone up from 10.1 to 11.7 dollars per hundredweight, the total overall value and production has decreased about $2,000 in California alone. This means that pumpkins are getting more and more expensive per hundredweight, but pumpkin production has made $2,000 less per year.

“I know of several [farmers] that incorporate pumpkins into an agritourism venture,” Turini said.

This means that pumpkin production is turning into more recreational than commercial.

Needham says she wishes Starbucks made Pumpkin Spice Lattes year around. However, they do not, so Needham had to come up with a way to satisfy her pumpkin craving.

“I like to make my own PSLs (Pumpkin Spice Lattes) at home, they’re so yummy,” Needham said.

Many companies, like Starbucks, sell “make-it-yourself” packets containing ingredients to concoct your own pumpkin paradise.

Starbucks has considered selling the warm, rich beverage year around, however since the pumpkin flavor is closely tied to fall, they thought it would be best to keep it available September through January only.

Other businesses such as Dunkin Donuts, Nugget and Peet’s Coffee and Tea, sell their own version of a pumpkin coffee similar to Starbucks.

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