Starbucks is celebrating Earth Month by giving away vegan drinks for a year
During the month of April, Starbucks is offering Starbucks Rewards members the opportunity to win dairy-free dairy products for a year through its new products Starbucks Earth Month game. The game supports Starbucks’ Plant Positive initiative, a sustainability plan that aims to cut its carbon, water and waste footprint in half by 2030. A recent review found that dairy is the main driver of Starbucks’ global carbon footprint and the chain has chosen to focus the game on giving away non-dairy beverages and other environmentally friendly products to promote more sustainable options. “Our Planet Positive initiatives are central to our long-term business strategy and address the needs of our customers directly,” said Kevin Johnson, CEO of Starbucks. “We are moving towards a circular economy, and we are doing it in a very deliberate, transparent and accountable way.”
The game features an instant Choice & Chance prize area where members can win a variety of prizes including stars, vouchers for non-dairy beverages, discounts on select grocery options, and reusable merchandise. Members can earn “games” by completing eligible transactions in participating stores (maximum of two games per day). Additional games can be earned by participating in weekly activities in April such as: For example, opting out of single-use plastic straws, choosing meatless breakfast options, voting on the preferred non-dairy drink, or reading articles on combating food waste. The game also features a Play & Plant section, where players solve puzzles and vote for one of four One Tree Planted reforestation efforts, the winner of which Starbucks will donate to plant 250,000 trees.
Dairy-free at Starbucks
In the past few years, Starbucks has modernized its menu with a variety of non-dairy milk options, including soy, almond, and coconut. In March, the chain added Oatlys oat milk as the fourth vegan milk to its nationwide menu – which it highlights in a new Iced Brown Sugar Shaken Oatmilk Espresso (a combination of brown sugar and cinnamon topped with oat milk). The new oat milk has proven so popular that Starbucks reported a temporary shortage of non-dairy milk earlier this month. Last summer, Starbucks also launched almond milk-based cold foam that can be ordered in a variety of beverages.
On the food side, Starbucks added its first plant-based meat option, the Impossible Breakfast Sandwich, to its menu last June. This sandwich, made from a plant-based Impossible Sausage patty, cannot be ordered vegan as it is not made to order and contains animal ingredients like cheese and eggs. However, the chain began testing a fully vegan Plant Powered Breakfast Sandwich (made with plant-based meat patties, non-dairy cheese, and mung bean-based eggs) at a location in Issaquah, WA, before expanding to Dallas, TX locations earlier this year. In March, Starbucks added its first fully vegan protein box to most locations in the US. The Chickpea Bites & Avocado Protein Box is filled with chickpea bites (nuggets made from chickpeas), snap peas, mini carrots, a dried cranberry-nut mixture and an avocado spread.
As Starbucks improves its vegan options, many activists have called for the surcharge for replacing vegan milk instead of dairy to be lowered. Earlier this week, actress Alicia Silverstone wrote a letter to Starbucks explaining that the additional fee for plant-based milk is preventing customers from making environmentally friendly choices. “If Starbucks is to achieve its goal of reducing 50 percent of its CO2 emissions, water use and waste by 2030, an obvious first step is to ensure that the green options are available to all by lowering the price of non-CO2 -Emissions will cut dairy options and not penalize those of us who are already choosing sustainable, friendly products, ”said Silverstone, a longtime vegan.