The “Vegan Frappuccino” at Starbucks sounded just fine. No dairy … all animal-free … right?
Not quite. To get it to come out with that nice pink color, Starbucks uses cochineal, a food coloring that’s made of ground-up beetles. (Cochineal has been around a long time – your mother probably had a bottle of it in the kitchen.)
When this was pointed out on the website This Dish Is Veg, Starbucks moved fast to replace the beetle-juice with a tomato-based coloring.
“We fell short of your expectations by using natural cochineal extract as a colorant in four food and two beverage offerings in the United States,” said company president Cliff Burrows. “Our commitment to you, our customers, is to serve the highest quality products available. As our customers you expect and deserve better – and we promise to do better.”
And apparently “better” means no more crushed bug coloring in all of company’s offerings including the now infamous Strawberries & Crème Frappuccino blended beverage and Strawberry Banana Smoothie. Additionally food offerings which currently utilize cochineal including the Raspberry Swirl Cake, Birthday Cake Pop, Mini Donut with pink icing and Red Velvet Whoopie Pie will no longer use the coloring.