Starbucks expands plant-based ingredients and products in China

Starbucks has joined forces with plant-based innovators in China, Beyond Meat and Oatly, to continue its strategic focus on expanding plant-based ingredients and products. Starting in April, Starbucks stores across China began offering a new plant-based food and beverage menu, as well as new merchandise made from recycled content. The new plant-based platform in China marks another step towards Starbucks global aspiration to become a resource positive company, giving more than it takes from the planet.

“Through our new plant-based platform, we seek to inspire new routines by inviting everyone to eat good, feel good and do good. Together, we can take a small, humble step to make a better world,” said Leo Tsoi, svp, COO and president, Starbucks China Retail.

Starbucks is committed to constantly reimagining its menu to offer a range of food and beverage choices for customers and continues to explore creative new solutions with customers beyond its menu to create a positive impact on the environment and support their lifestyles.

Packaging for the new menu items is made from plant-based material which have received OK Compost HOME and INDUSTRIAL certifications, two widely recognized international standards. Products also feature a sleeve made from recycled from milk cartons which opens to form a meal mat, reducing the need for cleaning up. A handle is integrated into the packaging design to remove any need for secondary packaging.

On the beverages side, Starbucks is introducing oat milk to the core beverage menu in all stores across China with Oatly. Customers at all Starbucks stores across the Chinese mainland may now customise their favourite Starbucks beverages with oat milk. The smooth and mellow texture of oat milk pairs perfectly with the Starbucks signature espresso, accentuating its full-bodied taste and velvety microfoam.

In addition to the new customisation choices, Starbucks has created oat milk versions of two signature Starbucks beverages, as well as a special limited time offer beverage. Available in all Starbucks stores across the Chinese mainland from 22 April, the new beverages include:

  • Oatmilk Latte: A classic handcrafted beverage reimagined with Starbucks intense signature espresso and velvety smooth steamed oat milk.
  • Oatmilk Matcha Latte: Featuring aromatic green notes of matcha, Starbucks signature tea beverage creates a unique yet familiar pairing with the smooth, mellow taste of oat milk, providing a balanced lingering sweetness.
  • Berries Oatmilk Black Tea Macchiato: Available for a limited time, this seasonal beverage infuses a black tea macchiato with a fruity medley of berry flavour notes.

Starbucks has offered soymilk in China since 2007, and the introduction of oat milk provides customers another unique way to customise their Starbucks Experience.

“It’s a significant step for the growing plant-based movement that Starbucks customers in China can now enjoy their favourite beverage with Oatly,” said Toni Petersson, global CEO of Oatly, the original oat milk brand from Sweden. “Oatly pairs extremely well with espresso and creates a wonderfully dense and creamy foam for lattes.”

Starbucks has also launched a line of stylish and creative merchandise that can be woven into customers’ everyday lifestyles. This includes tumblers and notebooks that are made with recycled coffee grounds collected from Starbucks stores. The coffee grounds are processed and mixed with polypropene to form an industrial grade material with over 30% recycled coffee ground content, which can potentially be used to manufacture a variety of lifestyle items. To further bring this new approach to sustainability to life in Starbucks cafes, furniture made from this material will be rolled out into stores soon.

The new platform marks the latest chapter in Starbucks sustainability commitment announced earlier this year. As part of this commitment, the company plans to build a Coffee Innovation Park in China by 2022, which aims to become the most energy, water and waste efficient roasting operations for Starbucks around the world.

Last year, Starbucks also eliminated plastic straws from all its stores in the Chinese mainland, saving about 200 tons of plastic waste annually. It is now accelerating the rollout of new waste sorting stations and will complete installation in over 80% of its stores by the end of September 2020.

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