With the alternative dairy industry expected to reach about $48 billion by 2028, Starbucks (SBUX) is continuing its efforts to retain those plant-based customers with interesting menu options: the Iced Toasted Vanilla Oatmilk Shaken Espresso is hitting the coffee chain's menus on March 1.
What Is The Iced Toasted Vanilla Oatmilk Shaken Espresso?
A Starbucks Blonde espresso made on ice with hints of caramelized vanilla, the newest Starbucks offering joins the Shaken Espresso duo that the chain unveiled last year. Like the Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso and Iced Chocolate Almondmilk Shaken Espresso, the Iced Toasted Vanilla Oatmilk Shaken Espresso is another iced coffee drink topped with alternative milk. While not terribly different in concept, it will appeal to those who like that strong vanilla flavor.
"Spring has officially sprung at Starbucks with the introduction of the new Iced Toasted Vanilla Oatmilk Shaken Espresso on Tuesday," the company said in a statement announcing the new drink.
Along with the oatmilk espresso, Starbucks has also been trying to drive more customers to its online app and website with a new digital Prize and Delight sweepstakes for gift cards and other prizes (starting March 7) and ability for Starbucks Rewards members to pre-order their drinks at the country's major airports through the app.
Ignore Demand For Plant-Based Dairy At Your Peril
There is a simple reason why Starbucks keeps adding new plant-based options to its menu: already growing fast, demand for alternative dairy options is expected to continue soaring throughout the decade.
While reasons are convoluted and have to do with everything from growing consumer health and environmental consciousness to lower calorie count, the numbers are clear. A report from Fior Markets found that, between 2020 and 2028, the alternative milk market will grow from $9.79 billion to $47.95 billion at a CAGR of 11.7%.
The alternative meat industry is seeing similar bursts in growth.
It is, then, no surprise that many fast food chains have been frantically trying to tap into the plant-based market with new menu options. After years of rumors and development, McDonald's (MCD) has finally started testing the McPlant in U.S. restaurants while Yum!Brands (YUM) Kentucky Fried Chicken has been offering vegan fried chicken options since 2019.
Last November, a small startup offering a "cow cheese, without the cow" version of mozzarella raised $25 million from investors.
Starbucks, in particular, has been aggressively pushing forward its image as a vegetarian-friendly brand: for every week in January, it celebrated "Meatless Monday" by offering customers $2 off its Impossible Breakfast Sandwich.