Photo shows the new vegan tuna fish sandwich on a seascape background next to the green Starbucks logo.
Starbucks just introduced its first vegan tuna sandwich. | Photo illustration by Eileen W. Cho for LIVEKINDLY

Starbucks Puts Vegan Tuna on the Menu

The latest plant-based menu item from Starbucks is a tuna, or "Tu'NAH," sandwich.

Starbucks is starting off 2022 with the launch of a vegan tuna fish sandwich.

The limited-edition Tu’NAH Sandwich combines the Vegetarian Butcher’s plant-based “tuna-style flakes” with red onion, cucumber, rocket, lemon, horseradish, and vegan mayo.

Starbucks also announced the addition of several new vegan dessert options, including a carrot cake, a chocolate and caramel muffin, and a pecan brownie, as well as three new flavored oat-lattes, two of which are vegan and one of which contains honey.

Vegan fish, oat lattes, and price parity for Starbucks UK

The international coffee chain recently ditched its 40p surcharge on plant-based milk options throughout the UK following pressure from advocacy groups such as Switch4Good and PETA. The company continues to charge for non-dairy options in the vast majority of its 33,800 stores, including the U.S.

Vegan seafood previously launched at Starbucks Hong Kong late last year in the form of OmniFoods crab cakes, served as part of a Thai–style salad topped with real fish sauce. The new Tu’NAH Sandwich is its first fully vegan fish-based menu item in the UK.

The new sandwich is just one of the Vegetarian Butcher’s collaboration announcements for the new year. The veggie meat brand has also created vegan pepperoni for Domino’s and plant-based nuggets for Burger King.

Plant-based ingredients and sustainability

As with all of the biggest fast-food brands, Starbucks’ environmental impact is astronomical. According to Fortune, 2018 saw the company emit 16 million tons of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and use one billion cubic meters of water.

Much of Starbucks’ GHG emissions come from its reliance on dairy milk and, to a lesser extent, its various meat, dairy, and other animal-based menu items. (Though in 2018 it was also responsible for a huge 868 kilotons—twice the weight of the Empire State building—of coffee cups and other waste.)

In recent years, the company has tried to mitigate its far-reaching environmental impact by introducing measures such as a 5p charge for single-use cups and has also continually expanded its menus to include plant-based dishes and ingredients.

Starbucks and its fast-food peers are relying heavily on plant-based foods to reduce their significant footprints. Many are combining meat and dairy-free foods with animal-derived ingredients to target flexitarians looking for low-impact menu items rather than vegans.

However, the new Starbucks x Vegetarian Butcher tuna sandwich is 100 percent vegan. It’s available now for a limited time at all UK stores and Drive-Thrus nationwide and costs £3.29.