With spring just around the corner, food outlets across America are preparing to launch new seasonal menu items. McDonald’s is bringing back the Shamrock Shake, while Dunkin’ Donuts is launching their own iteration called the Shamrock Macchiato in time for St. Patrick’s Day. And now, Seattle-based coffeehouse Starbucks is joining the trend with a brand new dairy-free beverage.
Due to the growing popularity of cold coffee drinks, as well as the success of Starbucks’ iced shaken espressos, the world’s biggest coffee chain is launching the Iced Toasted Vanilla Oat Milk Shaken Espresso. The new offering is made with Starbucks Blonde espresso and a touch of caramelized vanilla. This is shaken together with ice and topped with Oatmilk, creating a rejuvenating drink experience with under 200 calories. Take at Starbucks’ latest beverage selection below.
According to Food & Wine, the Iced Toasted Vanilla Oatmilk Shaken Espresso joins Starbucks’ Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso and Iced Chocolate Almondmilk Shaken Espresso as a permanent menu item. The drink will be available all year in stores around the United States. If the springtime beverage sounds a little familiar it’s because it sort of is. About a year ago the coffee giant launched the Iced Shaken Espresso with the option of Oatmilk. So their latest offering is just a new spin on a previously successful product.
The launch of Starbuck’s latest dairy-free coffee drink comes as the coffee chain doubles down on its vegan development. In the last few years, the restaurant has integrated exciting new plant-based milk specialty drinks into its selection. Speaking about the move in 2021, Starbucks’ CEO Kevin Johnson said the company realized there was a higher demand for plant-based and dairy-free products. As such, they promised to cater to the rising demand with a dominant shift toward plant-based menu items (via The Beet).
Following their vegan-friendly announcement, Starbucks has been hard at work developing its retail, beverage, and food categories throughout their restaurants. They launched a dairy-free version of the store-bought bottled Frappuccinos and unveiled two new flavors including Dark Chocolate Brownie and Caramel Waffle Cookie. The new flavors are exclusive to the Oatmilk variety, making it the first time the coffee house focuses on ready-to-go vegan items.
The shift toward vegan items is a smart move by Starbucks. In the last few years, the plant-based beverage market has grown at an unprecedented rate of 14.3%. And it’s expected to reach $66.5 billion by 2028. So it makes sense for the coffee giant to capitalize on the growing industry by developing plant-based options with all four alternative types of milk.
Interestingly, Starbuck’s shift to vegan hasn’t come without some problems. The chain has faced backlash for keeping its dairy-free surcharge, which means customers pay extra for substituting dairy milk for the four vegan options on the menu.
After some online trolling from activism group Switch4Good, which featured a fake press release reversing the charge, the coffee company said it would drop the vegan-based charges from various locations in the United Kingdom, making its dairy-free milk options more accessible. Unfortunately, the charge is still in place in the United States.