Starbucks and Its Hypocritical Vegan Milk Upcharge Get Roasted in Hoax News Release

Published by Katherine Sullivan.

Update: December 9, 2021

This morning, a mock website called out Starbucks for claiming to be committed to inclusion and diversity while still charging extra for nondairy milk—something that PETA has been challenging the company on for years, in light of the dairy industry’s cruelty to cows and people’s concerns about greenhouse-gas emissions and their own health. PETA is cheering on these pranksters—who are apparently from the group Switch4Good—and their hoax news release (which took the internet by storm and even had multiple outlets reporting on it before realizing that it was all a ruse) for spilling the beans about Starbucks, which claims to champion social causes while imposing a surcharge that harms cows, the planet, and those who are lactose intolerant—most of whom are people of color.

Hey, Starbucks: Recognize this prank as a wake-up call from the public and drop the upcharge, before any other tricksters roast you for your hypocrisy.

Join PETA and hundreds of thousands of kind consumers in urging the company to drop its vegan milk upcharge and make news of this compassionate move the real deal:

Ask Starbucks to Stop Charging Extra for Vegan Milk!

Update: January 29, 2021

On Friday, January 24—after Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson acknowledged that vegan milk is “a big part of the solution” in reducing the company’s carbon footprint—PETA’s “climate change cow” hand-delivered a letter to the company’s Seattle headquarters calling out Johnson and his disingenuous pledge to make changes to benefit the environment.

For Customers to Ditch Dairy, Starbucks Must Act, Too

Starbucks admits that cow’s milk is its biggest source of carbon dioxide emissions, yet it’s still charging up to 80 cents more for lattes made with soy, coconut, or almond milk rather than dairy.

For Customers to Ditch Dairy, Starbucks Must Act, Too

If the coffee chain is really serious about reducing its carbon footprint, it should walk the walk and drop the vegan surcharge immediately.

Originally published on January 23, 2020:

We’re only halfway through PETA’s Week of Action—during which supporters are occupying Starbucks locations across the U.S. and Canada to protest the chain’s vegan milk upcharge—and we’re already seeing progress for cows, kind consumers, and Mother Earth.

Yesterday, the chain announced that it would add more vegan menu options and push customers to ditch dairy in order to cut its carbon footprint and combat climate change.

In other words, Starbucks is beginning to understand what PETA has been saying all along.

Alternative milks will be a big part of the solution. The consumer-demand curve is already shifting,” Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said in an interview.

While we’re all for urging customers to ditch dairy, we have a news flash for the coffee chain: The ball is in its court. Vegans, environmentalists, people with lactose intolerance, and other customers have been urging Starbucks to eliminate its dairy-free milk surcharge since the chain began offering vegan milk years ago.

According to reports, Starbucks plans to lower the cost of adding vegan milk to its handcrafted drinks, but that’s not enough—to join the fight against the climate crisis in earnest, the chain must nix the upcharge entirely. By calling on its customers to choose vegan milk while continuing to charge extra for vegan milk (while allowing additions of dairy milk for free), Starbucks appears to be using the climate crisis to make more money.

What Does Dairy Have to Do With Climate Change?

In an environmental assessment revealed yesterday, Starbucks reportedly found that dairy-based items are the leading source of carbon dioxide emissions across its operations and supply chain. This isn’t surprising, considering that the production of dairy is to blame for a significant percentage of planet-warming emissions.

The most significant thing that you can do to combat climate change is to go vegan.

And what makes it so easy to be vegan in 2020 is accessibility—unless you frequent a Starbucks. Visit a Noah’s New York Bagels, Philz Coffee, or Costa Coffee and you can get dairy-free milk in your drinks for free! At Dunkin’, you can get a breakfast sandwich with Beyond Meat “sausage.” Visit a Starbucks, however, and you’ll be forced to pay upwards of 80 cents for vegan milk in your handcrafted drink—and vegan food choices there are very limited. So while Starbucks puts pressure on its customers to ditch dairy, we’ll continue to put pressure on the company to end its unfair vegan milk surcharge.

Bigotry begins when categories such as race, age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, or species are used to justify discrimination.

Join the Movement

Urge Starbucks to Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

Remind Starbucks that soy, oat, and nut milks shouldn’t cost a cent more than their dairy counterparts, which are cruel to cows, contribute to climate change, and are indigestible to many humans:

Ask Starbucks to Stop Charging Extra for Vegan Milk

Why stop at coffee creamer? Whether your goals include being healthier, showing animals more kindness, or saving the planet, living vegan is the only way to go. And you won’t believe how doable it is! Click on the link below to get started on your journey of compassion.

Order a FREE Vegan Starter Kit With Recipes and Tips

Get PETA Updates

Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you are agreeing to our collection, storage, use, and disclosure of your personal info in accordance with our privacy policy as well as to receiving e-mails from us.

 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind