Updated with stock price information.

In a move that mixes saavy marketing with some health progress,


(SBUX) - Get Report

rolled out a few new food items on Tuesday claiming they include more "real" ingredients.

In a press release that swirled concepts like health, taste and natural ingredients into a confusing gumbo, the company said it is dispensing with standard food devices like artificial flavors, high fructose corn syrup and artificial preservatives "wherever possible" in several goods. It also will use more natural-sounding ingredients in a smoothie and a salad offering.

Starbucks said it will use whole bananas, Oregon blueberries and Michigan cherries in selected items like its blueberry oat bar, banana walnut bread and strawberry banana vivanno smoothie -- or, as the company said, "more as nature intended."

What was the company putting in its food before?

"It's great that an industry leader like Starbucks is listening to customers and providing healthier options, while also being transparent about the ingredients in its more indulgent offerings," said Keith Ayoob, Ed. D., R.D. from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in a press release.

Maybe the company is just listening to its customers wonder if it's worth it to buy a $5 cup of coffee?

As Starbucks gets into a more

heated war with the likes of


(MCD) - Get Report


Dunkin' Donuts

in the rough and tumble coffee game, Starbucks is paying more attention to its food.

But does sprinkling berries necessarily equal health? Ayoob said in the release that the definition of "healthy snacking" is shifting and some are concerned with more than "whether it is low-fat or low calorie." Yet Starbucks came under criticism earlier this month from the Corn Refiners Association for its decision to exclude high fructose corn syrup from menu items.

Now, if anyone should have a beef about excluding corn syrup, it would be the manufacturers of said corn. Still, the group argued that there was no caloric difference between high fructose corn syrup and its more natural brethren.

"Consumers could be in for a jolt when they realize that there is no scientific basis to suggest that coffee cake made with sugar is 'healthier' than one made with high fructose corn syrup," President Audrae Erickson said. "There is no nutritional difference between high fructose corn syrup and sugar. It is the calories that count."

Well, good people could disagree on that point, too. So perhaps we'll just have to wait and see if customers decide to have their coffee with a side of banana walnut bread or a McGriddle.

Starbucks shares are down 4.6%, to $13.97, in afternoon trading.

Copyright 2009 TheStreet.com Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.