If you haven’t had your first pumpkin spice latte of the year, first off, what are you doing? Secondly, you actually might want to hold onto your wallet until you hear this…
A new study from MagnifyMoney shows that pumpkin spice products have increased in price, with an average tax of 14.5%. More specifically, for iconic annual pumpkin spice products like a Starbucks PSL, coffee drinkers can expect to pay an 18% pumpkin spice tax. The Seattle-born coffee company charges $1 more for the seasonal drink in comparison to its Caffe Latte.
To calculate the average pumpkin spice tax, MagnifyMoney collected data from 62 grocery products (31 pumpkin and 31 non-pumpkin) across Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Target. In terms of coffee retailers, they gathered numbers on 18 products (nine pumpkin and nine non-pumpkin) from Blank Street, Starbucks and Dunkin.
MagnifyMoney has been researching the topic since 2017, and this is the first year the tax is in the double digits. Between 2017-2020 the pumpkin spice tax increased by 10%. The average pumpkin spice tax was 8.8% in 2020.
Interestingly enough, the largest markup for pumpkin spice-related products is for pumpkin spice pretzels. Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spiced Teeny Tiny Pretzels cost 50 cents an ounce, yet their Honey Wheat Pretzel Sticks cost 19 cents an ounce. That’s a 161.1% difference!
And though it seems pumpkin spice products launch earlier each year, Google Trends data shows that people’s interest in the seasonal flavor hasn’t reached its peak in years. Searches for a pumpkin spice latte in August 2022 were 18% lower than they had been in their peak, which was August 2018. MagnifyMoney suggests that its early release and accessibility may be cause for its drop in interest.
When comparing which states were most interested in pumpkin spice lattes, the West coast had significantly more searches than the East coast. The study believes this could be credited to seasonal FOMO since much of the West coast states like Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico don’t have an actual fall season in terms of temperatures.
So with this tax, does it mean we need to give up on our love for the seasonal flavor? Hell no! There are many ways to still enjoy your pumpkin spice fix. MagnifyMoney encourages you to comparison shop, budget for your fall preferences, and keep an eye out on discounts.
Discover more findings from the study here.