Many pumpkin flavored foods don’t contain pumpkin

Justin Anair

Sr. Lauren Valentine cracks open the door and is immediately welcomed by the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. She walks in and peruses the Starbucks menu hanging above the cashier, but she already knows what she wants to get. She gets to order this drink for two months every year, and she makes the most of it. The smell of spices instantly flood her nose as she receives her drink. The first sip fills her body with warmth and sweetness. “My favorite thing about this drink is the taste, and how it reminds me of fall,” said Lauren Valentine. This Starbucks drink incorporates October’s most popular fruit: the pumpkin. Starbucks has helped make the pumpkin into more than just a pie, a Jack o’lantern, or a cookie; they made it into a spice latte. The Starbuck’s pumpkin spice latte has inspired other companies to incorporate pumpkin into their everyday foods. In the past, Starbucks didn’t use pumpkin. Now, however, Starbucks has made the change to using pumpkin in their pumpkin spice latte. While Starbucks has made this change, other companies still do not use pumpkin in their pumpkin flavored foods and drinks.

   It’s understandable why companies want to make the next ”pumpkin spice latte,”  given the success Starbucks has had. However, all of these pumpkin products that companies have been spitting out haven’t exactly been good, or made with real pumpkin.

   Hiding behind the huge success of the pumpkin spice latte, and the major competition of McDonald’s, is the Burger King Pumpkin Spice Oreo Shake. Burger King attempted to add a fall specialty to their already famous Oreo shake. But what did they actually add? Besides the usual ingredients, sugar, water, corn syrup, preservatives, Oreo, etc., Burger King decided to spice it up with their own pumpkin twist. But this shake has NO pumpkin ingredients. In replacement of a pumpkin, Burger King substituted caramel coloring, an ingredient often used to give a flavor of pumpkin without using actual pumpkin ingredients. This is a common trend in companies who decide to make “pumpkin” products  that are cheaper but not genuine

   Burger King isn’t the only culprit of this cheap, low quality trick. Kraft, the company producing Jet-puffed marshmallow that are designed for perfection, decided to add its own fall twist to its marshmallows.

   For nearly 60 years, generations of people have experienced the perfect white S’More marshmallow. Kraft has had major success with the Jet-Puffed marshmallow, the ideal marshmallow for every campfire across the U.S. With summer coming to an end, why not transition from a summer marshmallow to a fall marshmallow. Kraft released the Pumpkin Spice ‘Mallows to make that transition. The normal ingredients from the regular white marshmallows are still the same: Modified corn starch, sugar, water, corn syrup, dextrose are all in the Pumpkin Spice ‘Mallows. However, instead of adding any real pumpkin or even real spices for that matter, Kraft added yellow 5, and yellow 6 food coloring to add that “all natural Pumpkin taste.” But of all the ingredients listed for the Pumpkin Spice ‘Mallows, none of them contain actual pumpkin. Seems to be a pretty common trend with these “pumpkin” flavored foods and drinks.

   Almost any of the “unique” pumpkin flavored foods found in the supermarkets and fast food chain have no real pumpkin ingredients, rather they incorporate flavoring that is supposed to hint at pumpkin. So keep this in mind the next time offers you a piece of pumpkin spice lasagna: is it really pumpkin?