Starbucks and Panera Drop Artificial Colors, Add Real Pumpkin to Pumpkin Spice Lattes

It seems rather logical, but it took quite a bit of tweaking for Starbucks to add actual pumpkin to its ever popular Pumpkin Spice Latte—the PSL, as it’s commonly referred to by its legion of devotees.

The popular limited edition drink put Starbucks under the spotlight and widespread petitions and campaigns, most notably by blogger Vani Hari, best known as FoodBabe, for not featuring any real pumpkin in the seasonal drink. The company has contended that the product featured pumpkin spices, as the name of the drink implies, but it has acquiesced to consumer pressure and is now adding pumpkin puree to its “Pumpkin Spice Flavored Sauce” that goes into the coffee drinks.

Here’s Starbucks’ ingredient list for the reformulated “sauce”:

Sugar, Condensed Skim Milk, Pumpkin Puree, Contains 2% or Less of Fruit and Vegetable Juice for Color, Natural Flavors, Annatto…, Potassium Sorbate …, Salt)

While not exactly healthy by any measure, the drink does now include actual pumpkin. And also worthy to note, the coffee chain has also removed caramel coloring from the PSL drinks, a controversial ingredient commonly found in dark-colored sodas. Caramel coloring has been linked to numerous health issues, including cancer. 

Starbucks competitor Panera also recently announced that it will be offering a reformulated pumpkin spice latte, made with real pumpkin. The fast food company recently made an announcement that its removing all artificial preservatives, colors, sweeteners, and flavors, from its food by 2016.

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Image: Brett Jordan 


By Jill Ettinger| August 20, 2015
Categories:  Eat

About the Author

Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a freelance journalist and marketing specialist primarily focused on the organic and natural industries, she bridges her love for changing the food system with her lifelong passion for writing and connecting people in their shared values. You can connect with Jill on Twitter and Instagram.

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