The 'Pumpkin Spice Tax' Has Spun Out Of Control In 2022

How do you know when something is really "a thing?" When it's in the dictionary! It's 2022, and Merriam-Webster has finally caught up and added "pumpkin spice" to the resource Scrabble players reach for to avert an argument. If you feel like fall is ushered in by PSLs and pumpkin-flavored everything, you're not wrong, and, by the way, if you want to know what the best pumpkin spice products are, we have you covered.

In the midst of food inflation woes, it certainly feels like every food purchase costs more, and as we evaluate our budgets, it may seem like seasonal food purchases are a bit of a luxury. While BC Farms & Food points out that shopping for produce that's in season can be an effective way to cut food costs, you may wonder if you're paying a premium for seasonal lattes and other pumpkin spice flavored treats. The short answer is: yes, and for 2022, it's particularly true.

Pumpkin spice products come at a premium

Yes, you are paying more for that PSL than for a regular Starbucks latte. CBS News notes that in 2022, a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte is $6.45, 18% more than a regular 16-ounce drink. Paying more for seasonal specialties is nothing new, of course. Retailers often use seasonal specialty items as a profit center, a way to bump up revenue based on the perceived scarcity of limited-time offerings.

2022 is a whole new level when it comes to the PSL luxury tax, according to Magnify Money, which has tracked pumpkin spice pricing since 2007. This year, the average pumpkin spice "tax" is 14.1%, which is the highest it's been since the company started this seasonal price tracking. As evidence of the steep cost of 2022's pumpkin spice tax, Magnify Money cites a few products with a massive seasonal upcharge. Atop the list is Trader Joe's Spiced Teeny Tiny Pretzels, which cost a staggering 161% more than TJ's Honey Wheat Pretzel Sticks. Whole Foods also cashes in big time, with its spiced pumpkin pancake & waffle mix costing about 130% more than their regular mix.

That double digit (or triple digit) pumpkin spice tax can add up, so budget-conscious lovers-of-fall may be better off DIY-ing their seasonal delights with our list of delicious pumpkin spice recipes.