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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Starbucks Looks to Add Better Gluten-free Options

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Caption: 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 gluten-free 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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    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.

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    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 gluten-free 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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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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