How did the PSL become shorthand for whiteness? : It's Been a Minute It's been 20 years since Starbucks debuted the first pumpkin spice latte in 2003. Since then, it's become a cultural phenomenon greater than itself: it's shorthand for fall, for basicness, for femininity, and even for white culture. Why did the PSL become so powerful — and how do food trends garner so much meaning? Host Brittany Luse chats with Suzy Badaracco, food trend forecaster and founder of Culinary Tides, to discuss the $500 million dollar industry, and how little miss pumpkin spice has held on to her cultural power.

20 years of pumpkin spice power

20 years of pumpkin spice power

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Christina Tkacik/Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images
How did little pumpkin spice become so big culturally?
Christina Tkacik/Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

It's been 20 years since Starbucks debuted the first pumpkin spice latte in 2003. Since then, it's become a cultural phenomenon greater than itself: it's shorthand for fall, for basicness, for femininity, and even for white culture. Why did the PSL become so powerful — and how do food trends garner so much meaning? Host Brittany Luse chats with Suzy Badaracco, food trend forecaster and founder of Culinary Tides, to discuss the $500 million dollar industry, and how little miss pumpkin spice has held on to her cultural power.

This episode was produced by Liam McBain. We had engineering help from Neil Tevault. It was edited by Jessica Placzek. Our executive producer is Veralyn Williams. Our VP of programming is Yolanda Sangweni and our senior VP of programming is Anya Grundmann.