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Does Pumpkin Spice Latte Have Actual Pumpkin in It?

Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spiced Latte may have lost its novelty, but even at twenty years old, the iconic fall drink shows no signs of slowing down. 

Starbucks has massive budgets dedicated to consumer research. Over the years, consumers have become more health conscious, and, despite high sugar consumption, there's been a strong move towards natural ingredients. Starbucks has recognized this and now, its pumpkin spice flavor syrup contains natural ingredients. 

Real Pumpkin or Pumpkin Flavoring?

Starbucks is open about the ingredients that are contained in its Pumpkin Spice Sauce. As of 2015, the recipe includes real pumpkin puree as part of the ingredient list. Here is the complete list of ingredients:


  • Sugar
  • Condensed milk
  • Pumpkin puree

Secondary (less than 2%):

  • Fruit and vegetable juice for color
  • Natural flavors
  • Annatto for color
  • Salt
  • Potassium sorbate as a preservative

How Natural Is It?

Is Starbucks’ pumpkin spice artificial? As you can see from the ingredients above, it’s not. Of course, the staff isn’t boiling fresh pumpkin in the kitchen at your local Starbucks, so where do we draw the line between what is real and what is not?

The Pumpkin Itself

While we haven’t personally been inside the factory, there is little reason to doubt that Starbucks uses real pumpkin puree, just as thousands of frozen pumpkin pie companies do every fall. It is a ubiquitous and low-cost ingredient, so there is little incentive to fake it. 

Natural Flavors

Many ingredients in these flavors are natural. The nutmeg is real nutmeg and the cinnamon is real cinnamon–they just so happen to have been mixed and modified with great precision in large batches. 

Starbucks’ global footprint means it must create and deliver huge amounts of product that tastes exactly the same, week after week. Just because the batches are big and weighed to the gram doesn’t mean they aren’t real. 

Unnatural Applications

Starbucks gives its customers what they crave, not what is healthy for them. Even though many consumers are health conscious, people often have little idea how much sugar is in their foods and beverages. 

The FDA’s maximum recommended daily sugar intake is fifty grams. A single Starbucks Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte contains all fifty of those grams of sugar, plus 390 calories; a venti contains 25% more than that. It’s enough to make you wonder if other companies, like Dunkin Donuts, have sugar-free pumpkin syrup. Is an alternative even possible?

Another Way

If you’re craving the sweet flavor of a pumpkin spice latte without all those calories and sugar, Skinny Mixes has your favorite flavor in stock. All of our flavored syrups come with zero sugar and zero calories, and each of our syrups contains only natural sweeteners with no artificial flavorings. 

Skinny Mixes offers a no-guilt alternative to other syrups, letting you enjoy your favorite fall flavors–without the sugar rush!