Pumpkin Spice Tax: How Much More You’ll Pay in 2020, From Trader Joe’s to Starbucks

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Oct. 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The end of summer brings a number of changes, from turning leaves to…

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Oct. 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The end of summer brings a number of changes, from turning leaves to cooler weather — and all things pumpkin spice. Previous research from MagnifyMoney has shown that those who love pumpkin spice were paying heavily for it. In the 2020 edition, the prices for pumpkin products are more competitive with their non-fall-themed variants, even as this year’s pumpkin spice tax rose.

Without apparent rhyme or reason, the addition of pumpkin spice flavoring often changed prices, but not consistently through increases. Though many products saw no change in price compared to non-seasonal flavor options, less than half of the festive products observed came at a markup ranging from subtle to borderline exorbitant.

Key findings:

  • The study found an average pumpkin spice tax of 8.8% across 40 items from six retailers. That’s an increase from the 8% pumpkin spice tax MagnifyMoney discovered in 2017, though more consistency was seen across the retailers.
  • The highest pumpkin spice-related markup is 175.1%. Whole Foods’ 365 Everyday pumpkin spice cheesecake sandwich cremes cost 41 cents an ounce, compared with its chocolate sandwich cremes, which cost 15 cents an ounce.
  • Of the six retailers examined, Trader Joe’s had the largest average pumpkin spice tax at 17.8%, while Target had the lowest pumpkin spice tax at -3.1%. In the 2017 analysis, Trader Joe’s pumpkin spice tax was 62%, while Target’s was 14%.
  • For people adding fall flavor to their beverages, there can be stiff premiums. 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 regular products — just as they did in 2017.

Searches for «pumpkin spice» and «pumpkin spice latte» in both this autumn and last year’s haven’t reached August 2018 levels, according to Google Trends data. It’s not unreasonable to believe the ongoing pandemic has contributed to the lack of interest this season. Notably, though, the time spent on drive-thru lines has increased as demand at fast-food chains grows.

It’s possible that PSL creator Starbucks might be driving search trends on its own — and in doing so, perhaps may have caused a little pumpkin spice burnout. Since 2016, MagnifyMoney found search trends for both «pumpkin spice» and «pumpkin spice latte» peaked right around the time the company announced a date when the seasonal drink would return to stores.

To view the full report, visit: https://www.magnifymoney.com/blog/news/pumpkin-spice-tax-study/.


MagnifyMoney researchers gathered data on 80 grocery products (40 pumpkin and 40 non-pumpkin) across six retailers to estimate the average pumpkin spice tax. The researchers also gathered data on 26 coffee beverages (13 pumpkin and 13 non-pumpkin). 

This involved a mix of online shopping and in-store browsing during the week of Sept. 28, 2020. Because retailer locations vary, pricing came from the following New York and New Jersey ZIP codes:

  • 07047 (North Bergen, N.J.)
  • 10027, 10032, 10033, 10034, 10451 (New York City)
  • 10603, 10801 (Westchester County, N.Y.)
  • 12303 (Schenectady, N.Y.)

MagnifyMoney compared the products on a price-per-ounce basis to control for different sizing of items.

About MagnifyMoney

MagnifyMoney.com, a subsidiary of LendingTree, makes it easy for consumers to shop for the best financial products and get answers to their most important financial questions. MagnifyMoney’s unbiased advice and comprehensive product database helps millions of people compare credit cards, loans, checking accounts and savings accounts. MagnifyMoney’s newsroom of personal finance experts is dedicated to helping people save money and lead financially healthier lives through strategies and tips for avoiding fees, getting out of debt, paying off student loans, avoiding consumer scams and other financial topics. MagnifyMoney was launched in 2014, was acquired by LendingTree in 2017, and is based in New York, NY. For more information, please visit www.magnifymoney.com.

Media Contact:

Nancy Jones



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SOURCE MagnifyMoney.com