Is Starbucks Driving Away Customers With Its Vegan Milk Upcharge? Shareholders Want Answers

For Immediate Release:
September 25, 2023

Nicole Perreira 202-483-7382


A weeklong push for Starbucks to drop its vegan milk upcharge kicked off today with the submission of a shareholder resolution calling on the board to commission a report to examine whether the company is actually losing sales— along with damaging its image and its self-branding as an environmentally conscientious company—by charging a higher price for the vegan milks that it agrees are better for the planet. This is the second time PETA is pushing Starbucks executives to commission such a report, following enthusiastic support from other shareholders.

The resolution points out that the production of plant-based milks emits roughly three times less greenhouse gas and uses nearly 10 times less land and up to 20 times less freshwater than the production of cow’s milk. The group also notes that most people of color have some form of lactose intolerance and that Starbucks should anticipate a growing backlash against companies that penalize individuals for who they are or for standing up for the planet.

protesters walking around starbucks

PETA supporters call on Starbucks to end its vegan milk upcharge. Credit: PETA

“Starbucks should be encouraging consumers to choose animal- and planet-friendly vegan milks, not punishing them for it,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is calling on Starbucks to report the true cost of alienating those customers who can’t stomach cow’s milk for ethical, religious, environmental, or dietary reasons.”

Animal rights activists across the country are participating in a week of action to push Starbucks to drop its upcharge, which includes a social media uproar and protests at more than 30 Starbucks locations nationwide. Caribou Coffee, a Starbucks competitor, recently dropped its vegan milk upcharge for Caribou Perks members who order ahead on its app, and many other popular coffee stops—such as Panera Bread, Pret A Manger, and Stumptown Coffee Roasters—already offer dairy-free milk at no extra charge.

In the dairy industry, calves are torn away from their mothers within a day of birth so the milk meant to nourish them can be stolen and sold to humans. PETA’s investigations into dairy facilities have found workers electroshocking a cow in the face, hitting cows with poles and a cane, and abusing them in other ways. Once their bodies wear out from repeated pregnancies, they’re sent to slaughter.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat or abuse in any other way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview, and offers a free vegan starter kit on its website. For more information, please visit, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.

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’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.

Get the Latest Tips—Right in Your Inbox
We’ll e-mail you weekly with the latest in vegan recipes, fashion, and more!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.