Retailers are marking up your fancy little pumpkin treats by 175.1%

Several rows of bright orange pumpkins
Image: Rebecca Richardson (Getty Images)

As a native of the Ozark Mountains, something happens to me in late September. When temperatures drop below 55 degrees, I ditch my raggedy “don’t much care for bein’ indoors” persona and transform into a knitting, cuddling beacon of hillbilly coziness. That also means snarfing down a ton of pumpkin-flavored shit. So you can imagine my dismay when I discovered the pumpkin spice tax, a phenomenon that involves retailers marking up seasonal pumpkin goods by as much as 175.1%.


To nail down this year’s hefty pumpkin spice tax, MagnifyMoney researchers gathered data on 80 grocery products (40 pumpkin and 40 non-pumpkin) across six retailers. They also included 26 coffee beverages (13 pumpkin and 13 non-pumpkin) in the study. The findings were dire: Researchers found an average pumpkin spice tax of 8.8%, a notable increase from the 8% pumpkin spice tax MagnifyMoney discovered in 2017.

In fact, some festive products came at a pretty exorbitant markup this year. Get this: The highest pumpkin spice-related markup is 175.1%. Whole Foods’ 365 Everyday pumpkin spice cheesecake sandwich cremes cost 41 cents an ounce; its chocolate sandwich cremes cost 15 cents an ounce.

Also, in news that will surprise absolutely no one, the average Starbucks pumpkin spice-themed drink costs 15.9% more than its non-pumpkin counterpart. However, Dunkin’s pumpkin-flavored beverages cost the same as its non-seasonal offerings. God bless.

Finally, Trader Joe’s had the largest average pumpkin spice tax at 17.8%. I’m fine with that, as I’m willing to shell out a little extra for Pumpkin Joe-Joe’s. Listen: Pumpkin stuff is good, despite Barstool Sports’s continued disparagement of people (women) who enjoy eating perfectly tasty things. If I have to drop slightly more dough to get into hibernation mode, so be it.

Staff writer @ The Takeout, joke writer elsewhere. Wrangling dogs and pork shoulder in Chicago.



Little debate, here in lockdown Wales. Is a pumpkin an essential item? Supermarkets have been asked not to sell “non-essential” items. The rationale is that it is unfair to small shops who are closed if the big guys sell those products in the meantime. So a pumpkin for food is “essential” but a pumpkin for carving is “non-essential”. This should be viewed against reports that most British pumpkin purchasers will dump the pulp in the recycling and some pumpkin growers are looking at having to trash their crops all together.