Inflation Hits Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte

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Pumpkin Spice Spike

Rising prices and inflation have been downright scary in 2022. From that perspective, maybe Starbucks (SBUX) is just getting in the Halloween spirit by raising the price of its iconic Pumpkin Spice Latte, also known as a PSL.

After making its annual debut yesterday, a grande-sized PSL will cost customers between $5.45 and $5.95, allowing for regional differences. That’s 4% higher year-over-year.

Nearly 20 Years of Sales

It was back in the fall of 2003 when Starbucks first introduced its PSL. Since then, the coffee giant has sold over 600 million cups of the autumnal beverage. Loyal Starbucks customers eagerly anticipate the drink’s release each year, helping build buzz on social media and elsewhere.

Starbucks is also bringing back its Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew this year, which launched in 2019. Even though temperatures are set to drop with autumn approaching, cold drinks remain popular. They accounted for 75% of Starbucks’ total beverage sales in its most recent quarter.

Autumn Overload

As a result of the PSL’s soaring popularity, other companies have looked to follow the same playbook when the calendar turns to fall. Even for Starbucks, it’s not just about pumpkins. It also offers an Apple Crisp Macchiato as well as an oatmilk version. Competitor Panera Bread (PNRA) is opting for cinnamon, selling a latte of that variety. Meanwhile, Krispy Kreme (DNUT) and Dunkin’ have already been selling their autumn drinks since earlier this month.

There are also plenty of fall-themed snacks to look for. Dunkin’ partnered with Goldfish (CPB) to make Pumpkin Spice Grahams, while Oreo (MDLZ) is relaunching its pumpkin spice flavored cookie following a five-year absence. The hardest part may be choosing what to try first.

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