Starbucks to stop using color sourced from insects

by Jeff Gelski
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SEATTLE — Starbucks will stop using cochineal extract, a red dye sourced from cochineal insects, in two strawberry beverage products, according to an April 19 blog entry from Cliff Burrows, president of Starbucks U.S. The change comes in response to an outcry from vegans and a petition on signed by more than 6,000 people.

“After a thorough, yet fastidious, evaluation, I am pleased to report that we are reformulating the affected products to assure the highest quality possible,” Mr. Burrows wrote in the blog entry. “Our expectation is to be fully transitioned to lycopene, a natural, tomato-based extract, in the strawberry sauce (base) used in our Strawberries & Crème Frappuccino blended beverage and strawberry banana smoothie.”

He added Starbucks will transition away from using cochineal extract in other food products that contain it. The products include raspberry swirl cake, birthday cake pop, mini donut with pink icing and red velvet whoopie pie.

“This transition will occur over time as we finalize revisions and manage production,” Mr. Burrows said. “Our intention is to be fully transitioned from existing product inventories to revised food and beverage offerings near the end of June across the U.S.”

A March 14 blog entry from Daelyn Fortney on alerted vegans to the fact the two strawberry beverages were not vegan because they contained cochineal extracts. Ms. Fortney then helped lead the petition drive on

“Thanks to social media and my petition on, within a matter of weeks, Starbucks has agreed to rectify the situation, showing that it is a stand-up company that cares about its consumers,” Ms. Fortney said.

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