There’s a ‘Pumpkin Spice Tax,’ and It’s Costing Consumers Up to 161% More at the Store – NBC4 Washington

Pumpkin spice is an autumn-flavored juggernaut, it’s the seasoning blend that launched a thousand dips and is the undisputed champion of fall season’s enveloping comfort, no doubt. However, according to the researchers, your pumpkin spice items may also contain an uncomfortable truth.

A study released on October 17 revealed that the average “pumpkin spice tax” – or how much more a pumpkin spice product costs than one that isn’t – averages 14.1 percent.

The study was led by MagnifyMoney, a personal finance site owned by LendingTree, and the researchers collected data on 62 food items – 31 pumpkin spice and 31 no – from three establishments where people commonly skid their Uggs and infinity scarves: Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Target. The researchers also collected data on 18 products – nine pumpkin spice and nine no – from three coffee shops: Blank Street, Starbucks and Dunkin ‘.

The study drivers shopped at various stores in the Brooklyn, New York area, and said the researchers made sure they bought many items from many different locations within three postcodes, as the different locations of the same shop often charge differently for the same items.

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The researchers also said that the price disparity of items like ice cream, hummus, beer and coffee is at its highest since the researchers started the study in 2007.

Take for example an item likely to be found on many grocery lists for leisurely mornings when the weather changes: the pancake mix. At Whole Foods, the study found that while a 32-ounce package of 365 pancakes and waffles from Whole Foods Market costs $ 3.69; A smaller 20-ounce package of 365 spiced pumpkin pancakes and waffle mix from Whole Foods Market costs $ 5.30, which means a 129% increase in the cost for added pumpkin flavor per ounce.

The biggest pumpkin price disparity can be found at none other than Trader Joe’s. The study found that while Trader Joe’s honey and honey pretzel sticks cost 19 cents an ounce, Trader Joe’s small, spicy pumpkin pretzels cost 50 cents an ounce, which means there’s an ounce. huge price difference of 161.1% between these two items.

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The researchers also found that Trader Joe’s hummus had a 49.9% disparity in cost per ounce between one with pumpkin flavor and one without. In fact, seven of the 10 largest price disparities of the six retailers included in the study were found at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.

On the other end of the spectrum, according to the study, Target had no price disparity between its pumpkin-spiced items and regular items, even sometimes charging less for the spicy pumpkin items. Which means if you have a pumpkin craving and a slim wallet, it’s clear where you need to go.

But it’s not just the supermarket with the pumpkin spice tax, according to the researchers, the coffee shop has it too. Patient zero of the same pumpkin spice craze, Starbucks, charges $ 1 more for a Pumpkin Spiced Latte than a Caffe Latte, a difference of 18.3%.

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Blank Street, a coffee shop with offices primarily in New York, charges 15.8% more for a 20-ounce Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte than a regular Iced Latte.

Dunkin ‘, by contrast, charges just a little more for its fall treats, averaging 3.9%. It’s also worth noting that the price disparity between its glazed donut and its pumpkin donut – which this writer highly recommends trying – is 0%.

Finally, the study found that interest in pumpkin spices has declined over the years. According to Google Trends, searches for “pumpkin spice latte” in August 2022 – when PSL searches peak every year – were 29% lower than in August 2018, the highest year on record for pumpkin-flavored coffee. . This means that, according to science, prices are steadily rising for pumpkin spice items that consumers are constantly losing interest in.

This article first appeared on TODAY.com. More from TODAY:

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