Starbucks to Add Oat Milk to Stores Nationwide in 2021

It’ll be the chain’s fourth non-dairy option.

December 10, 2020

Photo by: Joshua Trujillo/Photo courtesy of Starbucks

Joshua Trujillo/Photo courtesy of Starbucks

Starbucks is expanding its roster of plant-based milks. The coffee giant announced via a statement that it intends to make oat milk available in all of its stores across the country in 2021. The move comes as the Seattle-based company reported that its cold beverage platform has grown by nearly 45 percent over the past four years.

The upcoming new addition to Starbucks menus nationwide was first mentioned in a statement regarding Starbucks’ continued sustainability efforts on Wednesday. “Following a successful regional rollout across the United States, Starbucks will launch oatmilk in all stores in the U.S. this coming Spring 2021,” the company said, citing increased demand for vegan options. “Customer interest in plant-based foods continues to see rapid growth with reports that the $5 billion industry has grown 29% over the past two years according to The Good Food Institute.”

The brand mentioned oat milk’s national debut again on Wednesday during its biennial Investor Day, and noted that not only would oat milk be joining existing non-dairy options, but it would also be part of a “growing menu of plant-based options across platforms from espresso, to cold brew, refreshment and food, as well as non-dairy creamers.”

To that end, Starbucks, which is currently giving out free daily coffees to frontline workers through December 2020, confirmed an Iced Shaken Espresso will be added to menus. Additionally, the company said it expects to add approximately 22,000 stores to its worldwide portfolio by 2030, including outposts with drive-thru and curbside pickup options.

While plant-based foods have become increasingly popular in recent years, Starbucks has been offering dairy-free milk to customers since 1997, when it added soymilk to its menus. Coconut milk followed in 2015, and almond milk was added to Starbucks menus a year later.

One thing Starbucks didn’t mention is whether or not ordering your beverage with oat milk will come with a steeper price tag, though it is to be expected. For reference, Starbucks currently adds a surcharge of around 60 to 80 cents (depending on where you live) if you request that your drink be made with soy milk, coconut milk or almond milk. Some critics have even dubbed this added expense a “vegan tax.”

However, there’s reason to believe that Starbucks plans to eliminate this surcharge over time. “We expect costs [of non-dairy milk] to come down as the supply chain for plant-based options matures and we will pass this onto our customers. Starbucks chief operating office Roz Brewer said at an annual shareholder meeting in March, according to VegNews. "We will watch this carefully.”

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