News that Starbucks is nixing the extra charge for adding plant-based milk to its coffee drinks and other hot and cold beverages starting January 1st, 2022 is fake.
The bogus announcement was put out on Thursday by an unknown organization claiming to be Starbucks and was immediately picked up by a number of news outlets, including Business Insider and QSR magazine. The false press release claimed that Starbucks was making the change as part of its campaign to eliminate “dietary racism.”
To refute the fake news, the Seattle-based coffeehouse chain released a statement saying the announcement is “false” and the website that sent out the press release to reporters “is not associated with Starbucks.”
Though some customers opt for plant-based milk due to veganism, others have no choice but to only consume plant-based milk because of their lactose intolerance, which makes it difficult for them to digest the sugar found in dairy products. According to National Institutes of Health, an estimated 68% of the world’s population has lactose malabsorption issues, and people of color are more likely to have lactose intolerance.
Starbucks first offered non-dairy milk in 1997, when it added soy milk to its menu. The coffeehouse chain then began offering coconut milk in 2015 and oat milk just this past March. Starbucks’ oat milk was so popular that many stores reported they were running out of it less than a month after its launch. Several workers told Business Insider that Starbucks’ oat milk became temporarily unavailable at some locations partly because of the popularity of the chain’s Ice Brown Sugar Oat Milk Shaken Espresso.
When asked in 2020 about dropping the extra fees on plant-based milk, former Starbucks COO Roz Brewer said, “While there’s no single factor in pricing decisions, we expect costs to come down as the supply chain for plant-based options matures.”