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Pumpkin Spice: Out of your gourd for it, or time to squash it?

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Kind of like Christmas, Pumpkin Spice season seems to start earlier – and get bigger – with each passing year.

The Los Angeles Times noted that Starbucks started pouring Pumpkin Spice Lattes on Aug. 25 this year, almost a month before autumn's official start. It's the 10th year for the seasonal drink, which gets much of the credit (or blame) for initiating pumpkin mania.

(The Food Babe blog, operated by nutrition writer Vani Hari, got a lot of attention for the research that indicated that there is no actual pumpkin in the Starbucks PSL.)

A Taste of General Mills, the blog operated by the Golden Valley-based food giant, cited Nielsen consumer data that shows U.S. consumers buy more than $300 million worth of pumpkin flavored products each year.

General Mills is getting into the flavor big time with a range of pumpkin-infused concoctions. They include Pillsbury Grands! Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls, Pillsbury Toaster Strudel Pumpkin Pie Pastries, Pumpkin Harvest Tortilla Chips, Betty Crocker Pumpkin Spice Cookie Mix and Yoplait Greek Pumpkin Cheesecake yogurt.
It was Chobani's Pumpkin Spice Greek yogurt that made the best list compiled by a food writer for Denver's Westword blog. The five best Pumpkin Spice products included raves for fave Baskin-Robbins pumpkin cheesecake ice cream ("rich, beautiful and awesome") and Pepperidge Farm's Pumpkin Spice swirl bread.

All this pumpkin love can only mean that it's time for a Pumpkin Spice parody. Buzzfeed got into the act with a hilarious list of "16 Pumpkin Spice products that don't exist and should never exist." It includes Pumpkin Spice toothpaste, breath strips, nasal spray, deodorant and, yes, Pumpkin Spice Pepto-Bismal. Which one might need to reach for if that stuff was real.

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