- Starbucks will stop charging for plant-based milk on January 1, 2022.
- Previously, oat, almond, coconut, and soy milks carried an extra charge of 70 cents.
- Starbucks says the change is part of an effort to end "dietary racism."
Starbucks will stop charging customers extra for plant-based milk beginning on January 1, 2022, the coffee giant announced Thursday.
Starbucks added oat milk in March 2021, alongside almond milk added in 2016 and coconut milk in 2015. The chain has had plant-based milk on the menu since 2004, with the addition of soy milk.
Plant-based milk currently comes with a 70 cent upcharge on any drinks they are added to. When oat milk was first added to menus, it was so popular that many stores reported they were out of oat milk, which several workers told Insider was at least in part due to the popularity of the Ice Brown Sugar Oat Milk Shaken Espresso.
The coffee chain says the price change is a way to fight dietary racism, noting that 65% of the world's population cannot digest dairy, a condition that primarily impacts people of color.
"Starbucks is taking the initiative to apologize for having perpetuated deeply rooted systemic inequalities in our pricing of plant-based milk, and we commit to offering a more equitable experience for the global majority, which suffers from lactose intolerance," Starbucks equality innovations director Blaine Stevenson said in a statement.
"Placing the burden of non-dairy upcharges on our BIPOC customers has amounted to inadvertent dietary racism, and as a corporate leader it's incumbent on us to make a switch for good."
Starbucks is also launching the Justice Cup. The reusable hot drink cup is black and green, featuring an equal sign instead of the typical siren logo. Customers can purchase the cup at stores in the US and Canada to show their support for "innovation, sustainability, and equality," the company says.
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