Starbucks is facing an oat shortage “due to high demand”
Demand for Oatly’s oat milk is growing at Starbucks and some customers may struggle to find the dairy-free milk in the coffee chain for the time being. “Due to high demand, some customers may experience a temporary shortage of oat milk in their store,” said a Starbucks spokesman CNN Business. Starbucks anticipates Oatlys oat milk will be back in stores soon, but the spokesman has not given a schedule.
The chain first tested Oatly at 1,300 locations in the Midwest in January 2020 and added the oat milk option to its menu nationwide in March. The chain contains Oatly – in addition to almonds, coconut and soy the fourth plant-based milk option – in the Iced Brown Sugar Shaken Oatmilk Espresso, which combines brown sugar and cinnamon and then poured oat milk over it. While Starbucks didn’t associate the oatly deficiency with any particular menu item, the spokesman confirmed that the herbal drink already has a large fan base.
The increased demand at Starbucks is one of the factors contributing to an Oatly shortage. The Swedish company currently has a US manufacturing facility in New Jersey and was planning to open a second facility in Utah last summer to meet growing demand. However, the construction plans have been delayed by the pandemic and the facility is now being put into operation.
Starbucks relies on herbal products to combat climate change
Starbucks actively added plant-based options to its menu as part of a sustainability offering after a 2020 audit found that 21 percent of its global carbon footprint came from dairy products. In addition to adding plant-based milks like Oatly, Starbucks has started exploring greener food options. Last June, Starbucks added the Impossible Breakfast Sandwich (which cannot be ordered vegan) alongside vegan almond milk cold foam to its menu nationwide. This is the first time the chain has served plant-based meat.
Last fall, Starbucks began testing the Plant Powered Breakfast Sandwich at a facility in Issaquah, WA. This sandwich is vegan and consists of a mung bean-based egg, a plant-based sausage patty, and non-dairy cheese. It is served on an English muffin. In addition to the sandwich, the chain was testing other vegan options at the location, including chickpea bites, which Starbucks added to the Chickpea Bites & Avocado Protein Box, a fully vegan meal launched nationwide in March. Starting in January 2021, the test location of the Plant Powered Breakfast Sandwich was expanded to Starbucks in the Dallas area, and a national launch of the vegan sandwich is yet to be announced.
“The expansion of Starbucks’ plant-based menu is one of the ways we are pursuing our goal of reducing our carbon footprint by 50 percent,” a spokesman told VegNews in March. “Our goal is to provide our customers with a variety of opportunities as part of their Starbucks experience. We look forward to feedback from our partners, employees and customers.”