It's not just Christmas promotions that are creeping earlier. With temperatures still above 80 degrees in many areas and the official last day of summer two weeks away, fall is already here—in the form of pumpkin-flavored foods.
Starbucks started offering its popular pumpkin spice latte (aka PSL) on Sept. 3, but in celebration of the popular drink's 10-year anniversary offered fans a secret code on Aug. 28 to "unlock" their local store and make it available to everyone early. That same day, Einstein Bros. Bagels and Noah's New York Bagels launched their pumpkin menu, with new items including pull-apart pumpkin bagel clusters and a frozen pumpkin pie latte. Some pumpkin craft beers were available even earlier, in mid-August.
Companies say the trend is less about a domino effect of early holiday items pushing fall ones even earlier, as it is meeting the rising consumer demand for pumpkin. Glenn Lunde, chief concept officer for Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, said the brand's launch was about a week earlier than last year, but still timed to Labor Day. "Customers look forward to fall, and part of the fall these years is pumpkin season," he said.