Starbucks Plans to Move Away From Dairy, Increase Plant-Based Options

Last week, Starbucks’ CEO Kevin Johnson announced the coffee chain’s new sustainability commitment, which focuses on plans to become more “resource positive” by reducing carbon emissions and freshwater use, as well as eliminating waste. 

IS STARBUCKS REALLY DITCHING DAIRY?: Starbucks’ statement lists five strategies the company plans to implement to become more sustainable, and number one on the list is to “expand plant-based options, migrating toward a more environmentally friendly menu.” While the statement doesn’t explicitly say the company will go dairy-free, reports say that dairy is on its way out, and non-dairy milk and creamer will become standard. And, in a statement, Johnson reportedly said that “alternative milks will be a big part of the solution.”

NONDAIRY MILKS GROWING IN POPULARITY: It’s no surprise that Starbucks is thinking of ditching dairy. In North America, 15 to 20 percent of the company’s customers already choose dairy alternatives when ordering, and non-dairy milk is soaring in popularity everywhere. A study in 2018 showed that 50 percent of all Americans buy non-dairy milk, whether they identify as vegan or not. 

BETTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND FOR ANIMALS: A glass of dairy milk produces almost three times more greenhouse gas than any plant-based milk and uses far less water to produce. There’s no question that plant-based milks are better for the environment, but those who choose non-dairy milks should also be happy to know that their choice is also the kindest one they can make for animals! 

DAIRY INDUSTRY CRUELTY: Cows in the dairy industry have to endure the trauma of having their babies taken from them after birth so that farmers can collect and sell the milk meant for the calf. These calves are fed a milk replacer, and either enter into the industry themselves or if they’re male, are killed or sold to the veal industry. Once a cow’s milk production declines at around five years old, she will be shipped to a slaughterhouse and killed for low-grade beef.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR STARBUCKS?: It’s been reported that Starbucks plans to begin serving a plant-based breakfast patty sometime this year, but it’s unclear exactly when this will happen, or if the company has plans to reduce or eliminate the surcharge they currently add to plant-based milks. Stay tuned to find out! 

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