(Updated July 23, 2020) | Starbucks is launching vegan oat milk in all stores across Canada this fall, totaling more than 1,400 locations.
The stores will serve Starbucks Oat Beverage, which is made from Canadian oats and is free from preservatives, artificial flavors, and color. According to the chain, it has a mild flavor and velvety foam. According to Starbucks oat milk is quickly becoming popular among Canadians.
This follows the biggest coffee house chain in the world launching Oatly oat milk across 1,300 Midwest, states including Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin earlier this year. It added the Oatmilk Honey Latte, which can be ordered without the honey syrup to make it vegan. This brings the total number of North American stores offering oat milk to nearly 3,000.
Starbucks already offers oat milk in select Starbucks Reserve stores, as well as in its European locations. In the U.S. and Canada, vegan milk options now include soy, coconut, and almond. The chain has not confirmed when it will roll out oat milk to the rest of its U.S. stores.
Charging Extra for Vegan Milk
Despite acknowledging the environmental impact of dairy on its website, the coffee giant currently charges customers extra if they opt for vegan milk instead of cow’s milk in their drink.
However, Starbucks has previously announced that plant-based milk will help it achieve its sustainability goals. CEO Kevin Johnson told Bloomberg earlier this year that “alternative milks will be a big part of the solution. The consumer-demand curve is already shifting.”
Many have asked Starbucks to drop the surcharge; one petition garnered more than 180,000 signatures. It says, “Starbucks should be encouraging customers to choose animal-friendly, vegan milk rather than cow’s milk.”
Actor Alicia Silverstone spoke out against the extra fee last year. “[Why] should we be penalized [for] making the eco-choice,” she tweeted. “It would be amazing for Starbucks to lead the way and consider enviro externalities associated with the dairy industry by having dairy cost + or at least = [plant milk] fees.”
Other chains, including Panera Bread, Pret A Manger, Tim Hortons, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, and UK chain Costa Coffee, no longer charge extra for vegan milk. Starbucks has not announced plans to drop the extra charge.