No, Starbucks isn’t nixing an extra charge for plant-based milk

By Zlati Meyer

December 09, 2021

News that Starbucks plans to nix a 70-cent charge for adding almond, soy, or oat milks to its coffees and other hot and cold beverages starting January 1 is false, the company confirmed to Fast Company.

After reports of the non-dairy news appeared in Business Insider and the trade news website QSR, among other places, the Seattle-based coffee chain had to clarify.

The bogus announcement alleged that Starbucks was making the change as part of its desire to eliminate “dietary racism.”

While some people opt for plant-based milks due to veganism or a desire to avoid dairy, many have no choice due to their lactose intolerance, which make it hard for them to digest the sugar found in milk products, as well as those with allergies to dairy.

An estimated 68% of the world’s population has lactose malabsorption issues, according to National Institutes of Health (NIH), and people of color are more likely to have lactose intolerance.

Non-dairy milk debuted at Starbucks in 1997, when soy milk was added to the menu, according to the company website. Coconut milk joined the lineup in 2015, followed by oat milk this year.

As Americans continue to embrace healthier lifestyles, interest in alternative milks grows. According to the market research firm Global Market Insights, global plant-based milk’s market value is expected to top $21 billion by 2026.

This is hardly the first time media outlets have fallen for bogus press releases. For example, in September, a fake Walmart news release gained traction, announcing the retail giant was going to start accepting Litecoin. So, for now, go back to crying in your beer, er, plant-based milk-enhanced coffee.