It's the season of the pumpkin; and these days they're not just for carving.
About ten years ago Starbucks introduced the pumpkin spice latte to coffee lovers. That has led to pumpkin spice flavored items that range from cookies to trail mix to M&M's. And people are hooked.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture pumpkin sales have risen 34% in the past five years. Sales of pumpkin foods increased 14% from 2012 to 2013. Now thanks to the inability of customers to wait for fall pumpkin season has grown by a few months starting as early as mid-July.
But as the taste for pumpkin grows so does the competition for shelf space. Dunkin Donuts is adding pumpkin flavor to its list of options, Baskin Robbins is offering a pumpkin creme brulee latte and pumpkin cheesecake ice cream. And besides addicts of the new fall flavor, farmers are benefiting from the craze. A double digit increase in sales has been reported since the debut of the pumpkin spice latte. It seems the pumpkin is well rounded in more ways than one.