Customers Influence Health and Wellness Options at Starbucks


When developing food and beverages, Starbucks listens to its customers and drives innovation to respond to their needs. From savory snacks to smoothies rich in fruits and vegetables, Starbucks continues to evolve its health and wellness options influenced by customer feedback.

Responding to Customer Eating Patterns

Research shows that snacks represent 50 percent of what Americans eat each day, according to Modern Eating: Cultural Roots, Daily Behaviors, a 2013 study by the Hartman Group. Whether buying a snack to pair with coffee or grabbing something for later to supplement a mini meal, customers can select from a range of small meals at Starbucks® stores, from wholesome bites to indulgent treats.

“We know customers are snacking on the go and looking for snacks that are healthier,” said Deb Hannah, director of retail brand partnerships at Starbucks. “We all love the opportunity to try something new and unique, like Kale chips, but we might be more open to reach for something outside of our comfort zone, like a ranch-flavored kale chip that has a culinary twist.”

Building on the success of expanded snack options Starbucks offered in select stores last summer, U.S. Starbucks® stores will feature a curated selection of innovative snacks and grab-and-go foods in a newly designed three-sided, multi-level store display this winter. Customers will find a collection of new sweet and savory small bites that will be refreshed throughout the year based on customer response. The winter assortment includes nine snacks from inspired brands including:

Rhythm Super Food Kale Chips: organic kale chips and sunflower seeds in Zesty Nacho and Kool Ranch flavors

Rip Van Wafel Dutch Waffles: a Kosher snack without preservatives or artificial flavors, available in Honey & Oats and Dark Chocolate Sea Salt

Pretzel Perfection:a gluten-free Kosher pretzel snack available in three flavors, including Tomato Basil, Garlic Herb and Chipotle BBQ

"Our customers expect that we will have something for everyone at Starbucks® stores,” said Hannah. “Packaged snacks are a great opportunity to expand our offerings to those with specific dietary needs, like gluten-free and vegan.”

Customers and Partners Drive Continued Innovation

In the spring of 2015, select Starbucks® locations in the Pacific Northwest, Northern California and select grocery stores nationwide launched Evolution Fresh™ Smoothies. Customer and partner response to these nutritious smoothies has been positive and many have taken the opportunity to customize the smoothie. Recognizing this pattern of customization led to the development of an advanced smoothie recipe, which includes a whole banana.

“Our data reflected that the most common customization for the Evolution Fresh™ smoothies, by partners and customers alike, was to add a banana,” said Stacey Crowner, a brand manager for Starbucks who is focused on the Evolution Fresh™ smoothies. “In addition to testing different smoothies, we talked to partners and customers, hosting interviews to understand what they were looking for in a smoothie.”

Crowner and team learned that customers wanted a sweeter, creamier smoothie and adding a banana satisfied both requests. The smoothie is now served in a venti cup and provides 35 percent of an individual’s daily value of fruits and vegetables combined.

Facilitating Customization That Is Relevant for Customers

Starbucks has a history of facilitating beverage customization. Providing options most relevant to customers is a key component in the company’s approach to health and wellness. In addition to understanding purchasing habits, Starbucks engages with customers and seeks feedback through My Starbucks Idea (MSI.com), the customer contact center and the company’s digital channels.

In February 2015, Starbucks introduced Starbucks® Single Origin Sumatra Coconut Milk, a certified vegan, creamy, delicious alternative to dairy and soy for handcrafted beverages. Providing a non-dairy milk alternative to dairy and soy was the second most requested customer idea of all time from MSI.com, garnering more than 84,000 votes.

Through multiple channels, Starbucks seeks to understand what is relevant for customers and aims to meet their needs in new ways. The company will continue to co-create with customers and partners to design beverages, snacks, treats and meal options for everyone.

For more information about the evolution of health and wellness at Starbucks, see Starbucks Health and Wellness Timeline.

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