Oh, yes! Starbucks just added a new vegan cold beverage to its permanent menu. The Iced Vanilla Bean Coconutmilk Latte is now a permanent offering. This vegan espresso beverage will keep you going all year long.
The new beverage is part of their commitment to serving more plant-based options. This demonstrates that Starbucks has confidence in the growing plant-based trend. Starbucks has made significant strides in better catering to its vegan customers. In recent months, it has added vegan macadamia cookies, 3D popsicles, protein-packed cold brews, packaged savory wraps, and coffee smoothies in select locations. The company has also expanded its snack range, offering vegan Hippeas packs, and Justin’s peanut and almond butter cups.
Other coffee companies have also gotten into the act. For instance, Peet’s Coffee has vegan whipped cream. It also has a “Coffee Meets Coconut” summer menu which included 3 vegan-friendly beverages made with the new whip.
Let’s hope all the coffee shops continue to increase their plant-based options.
The bug in question is the Cochineal Dactylopius coccus. Its body and eggs gets ground up and processed to produce a red dye that’s used in many food products. The dye can be listed under several names such cochineal extract or carmine.
Needless to say cochineal, like all other insects, is not vegetarian ( nor does it meet the requirements of Jewish Kosher or Moslem Hallal). We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, always check the ingredients. Take nothing for granted. Most ingredients can be googled.
It turns out that Starbucks has been using the bug dye in several of its products including Strawberries & Crème Frappuccino blended beverage, Strawberry Banana Smoothie, Raspberry Swirl Cake, Birthday Cake Pop, Mini Donut with pink icing and Red Velvet Whoopie Pie.
While carmine is used in a wide variety of foods, and even as a coloring agent in many vitamin and nutritional supplements and even cosmetics, somehow we expected better from Starbucks. It turns out that we weren’t the only ones with higher expectations.
According to Starbucks, “As a company, we always strive to exceed our customers’ expectations and we take their feedback very seriously. Based on recent customer feedback, we learned that we fell short of these expectations by using cochineal extract.”
To remedy the situation Starbucks will transition over to using tomato derived Lycopene. “This transition will occur over time as we finalize revisions and manage production. Our intention is to be fully transitioned from existing product inventories to revised food and beverage offerings near the end of June across the U.S.”
In the meantime, our advice is to keep reading those labels on all the products you buy!