NEW YORK, -- Americans are going out of the gourds for pumpkin spice.
Data from Nielsen reveals Americans spend about half a billion dollars on pumpkin spice products every year.
From the popularity of Starbucks' pumpkin spice lattes to the annual introduction of new pumpkin-related products, like Hefty's sold-out pumpkin-scented trash bags.
Starbucks alone reportedly sells 20 million pumpkin spice lattes annually.
According to the coffee giant, the highly-favored pumpkin-flavored beverage earned the company its best sales week of all time when the drink was reintroduced to fans on August 30.
"There's no practical reason to put pumpkin in your cup of coffee, to put it on your front stoop, to sweeten it and put it in your pie," said Cindy Ott, a historian, college professor, and the author of 'Pumpkin: The Curious History of an American Icon.' "But those modern-day traditions actually date back to much older traditions of associating the pumpkin with a small family farm. The idyllic kind of small family farm in American life."
The brightly-colored crop seems to hold a special place in the hearts, minds, and wallets of Americans.