Starbucks debuts its first plant-based protein coffee

Starbucks debuts its first plant-based protein coffee
Health, Fitness & Food

Starbucks is getting into the plant-based protein game for the first time.

The chain is introducing Protein Blended Cold Brew in almond and cacao flavors, available now through the fall, while supplies last. The non-dairy 16-ounce drinks are made from pea and brown-rice protein.

“Plant-based beverages, plant-based proteins are a choice that many consumers are gravitating towards,” CEO Kevin Johnson told an annual institutional-investor gathering in June, highlighting health and wellness as a strategic priority for Starbucks.

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The new almond drink is made with almond milk, almond butter and 12 grams of plant-based protein and contains 270 calories, 12 grams of fat and 22 grams sugar, according to Starbucks. The sweetness comes from what the Seattle-based chain calls the Banana Date Fruit Blend as well as coconut sugar; there’s no refined sugar.

The cacao version comes with coconut milk, cacao powder and 10 grams of plant-based protein. It has 250 calories, 9 grams of fat and 26 grams of sugar.

The $5.95 drinks are an extension of the chain’s three-year-old Cold Brew line. They’re available at participating stores throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Starbucks customers can also request a shot of plant-based protein be added to a different drink, the company said.

From faux-beef burgers to infused energy bars, plant-based proteins are a growing trend in the U.S. — and not just among people who eschew eating animal proteins, such as beef, poultry and pork.

Three out of five Americans say they want more protein in their diets, according to the research firm NPD Group. Fourteen percent of U.S. consumers, or more than 43 million people, regularly use plant-based products and 86% of them aren’t vegans or vegetarian.

KFC started testing plant-based chicken in the United Kingdom and Ireland right in June, while two months earlier, White Castle introduced its Impossible Slider, a version of its iconic slider made with a plant-based meat equivalent. And Dunkin’ Donuts began serving almond milk in September 2014.

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