Starbucks

Starbucks Introduces New Nondairy Drinks and Tests Oat Milk

At the same time that nondairy milks have been surging, Americans are drinking less cow’s milk

Starbucks
Spencer Platt/Getty Images (File)

What to Know

  • Starbucks is offering oat milk as a dairy-free milk option in Midwestern cafes.
  • Oat milk sales have skyrocketed 636% in the 52 weeks ended Oct. 26, according to Nielsen.
  • The coffee chain is also adding two dairy-free coffee drinks: the Almondmilk Honey Flat White and the Coconutmilk Latte.

Starbucks announced Tuesday that it would introduce oat milk regionally and add two new dairy-free drinks to its U.S. and Canadian menus.

Oat milk will be coming to 1,300 cafes in the Midwest, including locations in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin.

The coffee giant has slowly been dipping its toes into the latest trendy dairy-free milk. In March 2019, it announced that it would offer oat milk supplied by Elmhurst 1925 at five Starbucks Reserve locations, about a year after it started offering the dairy-free alternative in European locations. The oatmilk in Midwestern locations will be supplied by Oatly, the Swedish oat milk maker that kicked off the trend.

Oat milk’s surge started in late 2016 when Oatly entered the U.S. and targeted trendy coffee shops like Chicago-based Intelligentsia. Oat milk sales have skyrocketed 636% in the 52 weeks ended Oct. 26, according to Nielsen. But oat milk makes up only a small fraction of the larger alternative milk market, which reached $2.3 billion in 2018, according to Mintel estimates. At the same time that nondairy milks have been surging, Americans are drinking less cow’s milk.

With its sweet flavor and a smooth texture that froths like cow’s milk, oat milk has won over consumers and baristas alike. The dairy-free drink is made by soaking oats in water.

As Starbucks expands its list of nondairy milks, the coffee chain is also adding two dairy-free coffee drinks: the Almondmilk Honey Flat White and the Coconutmilk Latte. Both beverages are made with Starbucks’ Blonde Espresso and will be available in participating U.S. and Canadian cafes.

Midwestern customers will also be able to order an oat milk version of the Honey Flat White.

This story first appeared on CNBC.com. More from CNBC:

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