Friday, April 20, 2012

Starbucks DeBUGS Drinks…

I’m not the only blogger trying to make a difference while talking about my every day life. Another blogger, a vegan, bashed Starbucks for adding beetle coloring in it’s strawberry frappuccinos. Yep, good old beetle juice!  I don’t know about you, but I’m not a vegan, and I am against any byproduct of an insect being placed in my food without my knowledge. Let me not even go into the prices they charge for their frappuccinos either. It just boggles the mind. By the way, they are using it in four food products and two drink products, so beware!

Anyway, this particular blogger did their homework and was grossed out to find that ground up cochineal beetles found in Mexico and South America, were being used as food coloring. It’s perfectly legal and government approved. In fact, as I look around, I see there are other products mentioned in the article, such as Yoplait and Kellogg’s Pop Tarts, that also use it. The reason Starbucks started using beetles was to get rid of artificial ingredients. Somehow, I am not impressed. Why isn’t their strawberry frappuccino colored with, I don’t know, maybe STRAWBERRIES? Last time I checked, strawberries were natural. But maybe strawberries would eat into their huge 2 billion dollar profit margin and beetles, well they don’t cost anything at all. 

Now that the word is out, Starbucks, who isn’t getting any credit for going all natural with beetle juice, is changing its ingredients again to satisfy unhappy customers who have written numerous petitions and made individual requests. They are going to “transition” away from insect coloring. Not sure what they will use now, maybe they need to shop around for the lowest costing “pink” coloring they can find. I hear that lycopene, a tomato based extract, is the likely substitute. Thank God for educated consumers!

I’m glad that Starbucks has always priced itself outside of my willingness to pay $7 for a cup of coffee. There is something in me that will not allow me to pay that much no matter how good people claim it is. Now that I find they use beetle juice, I am that much happier. I need to be more vigilante about other pink food products. I have eaten plenty of Yoplait and some of those were pink, so I probably have gotten stung with insect coloring already. Maybe I can do a search online and find out all the companies that use government approved insect coloring in their products? I hope so. Damn it, if it’s not one thing it’s another!

P.S. the exact products mentioned were: Strawberries & Crème Frappuccino, Strawberry Banana Smoothie, Raspberry Swirl Cake, Birthday Cake Pop, Mini Donut with pink icing and Red Velvet Whoopie Pie.


  1. I did some reseaech to find out more about these beetles because I plan to stay away from it - YUCK! I read on that there are 3 different names used on ingredients lists to signal the use of the tiny bugs; cochineal, carmine, or carminic acid. I'll be checking the ingredient list before enjoying my next red or pink popsicle, sucker, yogurt, etc. If any of those names are listed, I wont be eating it!! It also mentioned that the ingredients Red Dye #40 or Red #40 is a synthetic colorant, NOT the creepy-crawling critter! I will eat those products.

    Thanks for the info, Nina!!

  2. Upon further research, I found that it is also listed as "crimson lake" or "natural red 4" in some ingredient lists. It differs from country to country, but I'm not sure which name is used in specific locations.
    Erin, again.

  3. Erin thanks for the research, that was my next step in trying to figure out which products to avoid. I can't understand how the government would approved insect ingredients and if so, why are we being kept in the dark until other consumers figure it out.