Mmmm. Fall has come to mean more than falling leaves. For many people and coffee shops, it means the return of the pumpkin spice latte. Both Starbucks and Panera Bread are reformulating versions of their pumpkin spice latte, a coffee drink that contains espresso, steamed milk, and flavorings. The drink is usually only available for several weeks in the fall and early winter.
Starbucks Corp. announced that its version the latte will be made with real pumpkin and without caramel coloring this year. Last year, the company came under criticism for not being more transparent about their ingredients, some of which were artificial.
Panera Bread announced that its pumpkin latte this year will be made "entirely without artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, preservatives, or high fructose corn syrup" and with real pumpkin.
Panera's pumpkin latte will be available in its stores starting Sept. 9. Starbucks has not said when its pumpkin spice latte will be available.
Starbucks' pumpkin spice latte is the company's "most popular seasonal beverage ever," according to the company's CEO Howard Schultz. Pumpkin spice latte even has its own Twitter account set up, with more than 82,000 followers.
Several large food companies and restaurant chains including General Mills, Subway, Hershey, Chipotle, and Nestle have announced that they're removing artificial ingredients from some or all of their products. The changes are usually described as being a response to public demand for food made with more natural ingredients.
Panera Bread has said it would remove many ingredients from items on its menu by the end of next year.
In a battle of one-up-manship, Panera Bread plans to offer samples of its pumpkin latte in Seattle. The location for the sampling will be across the street from the first Starbucks location by Pike Place market.