The weather has given few indicators that fall is on its way, and while the leaves may still be on the trees, the onslaught of pumpkin products from the food and beverage industry is fast approaching.
The number of pumpkin flavored products on the market has surged in recent years as consumer demand for these cinnamon and nutmeg spiced delicacies has exploded. Everything from beer, bread, cookies and candy is in on the craze, though no product may be beloved as much as the pumpkin spice latte.
In an attempt to win back the pumpkin purists this year, Starbucks and Panera are tweaking their pumpkin spice latte formulas.
In a blog post published Monday by Peter Dukes, director, espresso and brewed coffee Americas for Starbucks, Dukes said the company is removing caramel coloring from the drink and adding bits of real pumpkin. The Starbuck latte, one of the company’s hottest items, came under fire from food blogger Vani Hari, also known as the Food Babe, last year who criticized the coffee company for its use of caramel coloring and lack of transparency when it came to its ingredients.
Panera Bread, which offers a similar latte, said it will launch a new version of its popular beverage this year that is free of artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives as defined on the company’s “No No List.” The latte also features real pumpkin in its recipe.
“Our pumpkin spice latte has long been made with real pumpkin and without artificial caramel color—and this year we’re taking ‘real’ a step further,” said Dan Kish, Panera’s head chef. “We’re offering a ‘Real Pumpkin Latte,’ made entirely without artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners or preservatives, and letting the goodness of real pumpkin, milk and spices do all the work.”