It's Time for Pumpkin

Several large chain beverage outlets have announced that later this week the famous pumpkin spice latte will be available along with cold brew, iced blended and ice cream-based versions of the drink.  Interestingly, a comparison of several ingredient listings anonymized from various websites shows that the pumpkin in these beverages comes from pumpkin sauce or pumpkin puree blends that contain approximately 2% pumpkin according to the ingredient statement.  The rest of the pumpkin spice taste comes from Natural Flavors.

Natural flavors are more shelf stable than fresh fruits or vegetables / purees and can be produced in commercial volumes regardless of growing seasons.  Natural flavors can also be used to reinforce natural ingredients such as pumpkin puree or cinnamon and are manufactured in hundreds of thousands of varieties.  Flavors are defined under 21 CFR 101.22 by the US FDA, and over two hundred other global jurisdictions legislate flavors as well.  Flavors are not always well understood but offer a way to capture tastes in a shelf stable version.  Other seasonal beverages such as maple and chai beverages also feature flavors to provide taste intensity. Questions?

Posted on 4 September 2020