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The truth about your pumpkin spice latte

By Lauren Wolfe Staff Writer

According to CNN, the need for pumpkin products in the US has “skyrocketed” because of Starbuck’s seasonal pumpkin spice latte beverage, but what is so special about the four-dollar drink? Would consumers still buy the product if they knew the truth of what is really in it (hint: there are no pumpkins). Starbuck’s mentions the Nutrition facts on their website and below them are some ingredients, but nowhere does it list “pumpkins.” It concludes that there is cinnamon, nutmeg, creamy milk, and “real pumpkin pie spices atop whipped cream,” in the drink.

USA Today released an article describing Vani Hari’s take on the whole pumpkin spice latte concept. Hari is an influential health and a nutritional food advocate and has a blog where she goes by the name of “Food Babe.” In her blog she writes about how Starbucks is not being honest with the ingredients that go in to making the beverage. She describes some of the ingredients for example the “caramel coloring” as being hazardous and she believes that Starbucks only uses it for “cosmetic reasons.”

Lisa Passe, a Starbucks spokesperson reached out via email addressing Hari’s concerns about the ingredients and says that there are over 170,000 ways of customizing different beverages and it would be too difficult to list all of the ways for the public on their website. USA Today recognized that Passe says, “we're working on listing core beverage recipes online via Starbucks.com and hope to have an update in the near future."

USA Today lists that since 2003, more than 200 million Pumpkin Spice Lattes have been sold in the US, according to Starbucks. Health awareness website Care2.com says that there is more sugar in a pumpkin spice latte than a single can of coke and 240 mg of sodium. Is the drink worth the total of 380 calories?

Hofstra student Amber Murphy admits that she has tried a pumpkin spice latte and claims that she is “not a fan.” Murphy explains that the pumpkin spice lattes are “overrated and don’t actually taste as good as they’re made out to be.” She was well aware of the sugar content and she has already read online and knew that there are no actual pumpkins in the beverage.

Another Hofstra student was asked, “Have you ever tried a pumpkin spice latte?” Sonia Sharma says, “Are you kidding? I drink it every single day. It’s amazing.” She was also surprised when told that there are no actual pumpkins in the drink and she was concerned that Starbucks does not actually list all of the ingredients for the drink on their website. Sharma says that she will still have the beverage every day regardless of learning about the high sugar content. Another individual interviewed upon the subject is Danielle Kent, a Starbucks barista and Hofstra student. She claims that many drinks are “syrup” or “sauce based.” Kent explains, “Pumpkin spice comes in a huge tub and it looks really disgusting actually.” She also admits that, “Starbucks likes to act a lot more health conscious than it really is. A lot of customers ask for itemized lists of ingredients and we don't have those available.”

Starbucks mentions on their website that there has been over 29,000 tweets trending about their pumpkin spice latte since 2012. The latte will be very popular this fall season, but before you purchase the drink, think about what you are drinking.

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