UPDATE, Feb. 26, 2020: Starbucks Canada will add a Beyond Meat, Cheddar and Egg Sandwich to its stores on March 3, according to a company announcement. The meatless sandwich will become a part of Starbucks Canada's core menu. The sandwich will include cheddar cheese and egg on an artisanal bun.
- As part of Starbucks' new multi-decade commitment to give more than it takes from the planet, the coffee chain plans to expand its plant-based menu options, according to a press release.The company completed what it describes as a comprehensive data-driven environmental footprint of its carbon emissions, water use, and waste throughout global operations and its supply chain.
- Starbucks said it is exploring meat alternative for its breakfast menu, specifically, the chain said a statement emailed to Restaurant Dive.
- In January, it added plant-based milk alternatives to its menu, including two permanent drinks: a coconut milk latte and a honey almond milk flat white.
Starbucks has been making steady moves in terms of improving its green halo, primarily through reducing the use of single-use packaging in its stores. Now, its sustainability focus seems to be shifting elsewhere, starting with adding plant-based options to its menu this year.
Although plant-based food products are being marketed as a major panacea for environmental damage, there is ample debate swirling around about whether cultivating protein-based products from plants is necessarily better for the environment. But the fact that Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger use less water, land and fossil fuel emissions than ground beef, according to CNBC, is a positive. But researchers claim plant-based meat releases the same emissions as chicken, or five times the emissions produced by vegetables and legumes, according to NBC.
Almond milk is a perfect example of a hotly debated food that purports to have an environmental edge over cow milk. The U.C. San Francisco Office of Sustainability noted in January 2018 some of the significant environmental risks that come from increasing almond milk demand. The large amount of water required to cultivate almonds was chief among them.
Starbucks may also have to think carefully about how to launch plant-based breakfast items. Although plant-based burgers have garnered considerable consumer attention, with Burger King reporting a 5% bump after it launched the Impossible Whopper, their appetite for plant-based breakfast items is still relatively unexplored. Tim Horton scaled back a Beyond Meat breakfast sandwich from most of its Canadian store locations only a few months after launching the new offering, while Dunkin' launched its Beyond Sausage Sandwich nationwide last year.