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Starbucks Looks to Add Better Gluten-free Options


Starbuck looks to add more and better gluten-free options. Photo: CC--Angela Thompson

Celiac.com 09/27/2016 - After repeated shareholder requests, and a public admission from the CEO that the company had "really screwed up the gluten free stuff," Starbucks is announcing an expansion gluten-free and other specialty options.

Until now, Starbucks has relied heavily on packaged foods to meet the rising demand for gluten-free food raises. As part of a new effort to change that, the company recently released its latest offering, the organic gluten-free, vegan, kosher chickpea puff called Hippeas, which is currently available in white cheddar and fajita flavors.

Over the years, numerous shareholders have demanded that Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz add more food options for people who are either allergic to gluten or choose to eat gluten-free. At the 2015 shareholder meeting, Schultz said the company had plans to address the gluten-free issue because it represents a "big opportunity." He added that, to that point, the company had "really screwed up the gluten free stuff."

Some gluten-free options are available regionally at various Starbucks, such as the Marshmallow Dream bar and the Kind Bars, but there has been little in the way of quality gluten-free options that are local, aritisanal, etc. "Items in our pastry case can be subject to cross contamination and we use shared equipment," Starbucks spokeswoman Erin Schaeffer said in an email response to questions. "So adding GF options to our broader food portfolio has posed a challenge that we continue to explore."

The market for packaged gluten-free foods is estimated at more than $3 billion and is continuing to grow.

Last year, Starbucks launched the Retail Brand Partnership team, which is tasked with finding packaged goods that satisfy various dietary specialty needs.

Read more in Bizjournals.com.

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14 Responses:

 
Erica
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
03 Oct 2016 8:37:22 AM PST
Good news! They pulled their GF muffins before I even knew they were offering them when they tried to add those (at least locally here in Portland, OR). I wish they would give muffins another, better chance.

 
Joey
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
03 Oct 2016 1:39:16 PM PST
Last I knew the only drink they offered that was gluten free was plain black coffee. Has that changed? (And their coffee tastes awful.)

 
Karla Gotham
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said this on
04 Oct 2016 5:08:34 AM PST
Starbucks has the only gluten free chocolate, so mocha latte, hot chocolate, etc., are all available to you! Don't try the chocolate at Caribou, though. You will get sick. Not sure why Caribou hasn't gotten a clue yet, but it certainly gives Starbucks the edge for celiacs!

 
Kim
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
03 Oct 2016 6:05:24 PM PST
I think the problem Starbucks is having, is not having enough DRINK options. Make all their drink additives gluten-free and they will increase business substantially.

 
sandi Ramirez
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
03 Oct 2016 10:53:40 PM PST
Please at least get gluten free packaged options. That way things are safe from cross contamination. My daughter just happens to run a Starbucks inside a grocery store and she said she gets asks no less than 10 times a day for gluten free even GF/egg free offerings. She's been there a couple weeks now. At least get your drinks up to stuff for folks with allergies. PLEASE.

 
Roberta
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said this on
03 Oct 2016 11:49:27 PM PST
Their GF muffins, wrapped in cellophane, were delicious. I hope they bring them back!

 
Angela
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said this on
04 Oct 2016 1:44:50 AM PST
I've had two of their salad and even though it didn't read GF on the package it gave me no bad reactions. They were delish!

 
Mark
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
04 Oct 2016 3:40:50 AM PST
They needed to improve! When I last asked if there was anything GF they pointed to a cake that had been sliced and served using the regular cake slice. It was inches away from regular cake too. In the UK Costa have GF items separately wrapped, which is all we need to feel confident.

 
Jill
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said this on
04 Oct 2016 6:07:40 AM PST
Finally! I'm still wondering why they can't make their specialty coffee drinks gluten-free across the board?! Grateful they are exploring more GF food options and snacks!

 
Joni
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said this on
04 Oct 2016 6:32:54 AM PST
Just wish they'd label things better. After some research, I discovered their Java chips are not GF.That should be highlighted - who would guess chocolate chips would have flour in them?

 
Marie
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingemptyratingempty Unrated
said this on
04 Oct 2016 6:34:37 AM PST
The big issue is cross contamination with their beverages. I've been glutened there drinking seemingly safe drinks. Delving a little deeper I found blog posts from employees who talk about how they use shared cleaning tools for the bakery case and beverage prep areas.

 
Deb
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingempty Unrated
said this on
04 Oct 2016 7:13:01 AM PST
I was so excited to see this headline, but it turns out there is one new GF item that doesn't sound appetizing at all. Oh well!

 
Christa
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
04 Oct 2016 8:08:12 AM PST
Can they first focus on getting their beverages sorted out??! I don't go to Starbucks for food, but I would like to know that I can safely drink a latte there. Without them releasing the ingredients for their drink products, I don't think many celiacs will see this as a good faith attempt to accommodate us.

 
Peggy
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingemptyratingempty Unrated
said this on
05 Oct 2016 8:42:42 PM PST
At 3 different Starbucks, I was "glutenized" by their mochas, so haven't touched anything other than hot tea from Starbucks in 15 years. Before worrying about having GF pastries (which, mind you, would be terrific if prepackaged), they certainly need to make sure ALL beverages are consistently 100% gluten-free.




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