Starbucks Is Expanding Its Vegan Menu With Help of a Bollywood Backed Brand

|Updated Jun 6, 2022
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A ready-made vegan breakfast is the perfect accompaniment to your morning coffee. Starbucks may offer customers several non-dairy milks, but worldwide, the company has fallen behind in vegan food options. This week, however, Tata Starbucks – India's collaborative chain between Starbucks and Tata Consumer Products – just announced a partnership with Imagine Meats to bring vegan breakfast to customers across India.

Starbucks will work closely with Imagine Meats to develop a fully plant-based menu to help promote the company’s sustainability goals and provide customers with healthier versions of its breakfast offerings. The new vegan menu will feature vegan sausage croissant rolls, vegan croissant buns, and vegan hummus kebab wraps.

“It is about giving consumers the choice and about catering to the segment which is growing,” Chief Executive Officer of Tata Starbucks Sushant Dash told Mint.

Founded by plant-based Bollywood celebrities Ritesh and Genelia Deshmukh, Imagine Meats aims to provide Indian consumers with healthier, more sustainable meat options. The meat alternatives contain no cholesterol, no animal hormones, or antibiotics. Currently, Imagine Meats’ selection features several traditional Indian meat recipes including seekh kebabs, keema, biryani dishes, and more. Starbucks will feature the company’s plant-based sausage and kebab substitutes in its new plant-based menu.

The new vegan menu items will be available at Indian locations in Goa, Noida, Pune, Jaipur, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Mumbai.

Starbucks is Expanding Vegan Options Worldwide

Starbucks intends to expand its plant-based offerings worldwide to help meet its goals of cutting its carbon footprint by 50 percent. The plant-based company has partnered with several companies including Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods to provide consumers in China, the US, and Canada with plant-based food options. However, the company is still working to introduce a permanent vegan meat menu item.

The company is currently working to expand its “Greener Stores” concept – an environmentally-conscious initiative that is transforming stores to become 50 percent plant-based. Currently, the company operates approximately 2,300 Greener Stores but intends to expand to approximately 10,000 locations worldwide.

The major coffee company has achieved significant progress in its plant-based efforts, but the company is still facing backlash regarding its plant-based milk surcharge. Last year, Paul McCartney begged the Former Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson to finally disband the vegan milk surcharge before he retired. Some locations charge 50 cents to a dollar more on drinks made with plant-based milk.

This May, Succession star James Cromwell protested the vegan milk upcharge by supergluing his hand to a counter at a Manhattan location. Working together with PETA, the celebrity hoped to pressure the company into allowing customers to substitute plant-based milk for free.

India’s Sustainable Meat Market

Tata Starbucks’ vegan menu will join a growing plant-based and sustainable movement within India. Imagine Meats founder Genelia Deshmukh is helping promote plant-based living in the country. Last June, the Bollywood star helped donate 100,000 plant-based meals to Indian citizens suffering from the deadly second wave of COVID-19 that swept the country. Partnering with Million Dollar Vegan, the vegan entrepreneur helped provide healthy meals to thousands of people.

Recently, CIIE.CO and the Good Food Institute released a report that claimed cultivated meat could change India’s food industry for the better. The report emphasized that promoting cultivated meat production could help protect India’s people from climate change, pandemics, and even economic instability. Several companies such as Clear Meat and MyoWorks have taken note of India’s growing acceptance and have begun ushering in a new era for the country’s cuisine.

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Fast-food restaurants have finally got the memo that their customer base isn’t just coming through for a burger, fried chicken, or a beef taco. Many now have plant-based foods and are coming up with creative, delicious ways to get more greens on the menu. Here are the 6 best fast-food chains with plant-based options on the menu.

1. Burger King

Turns out there’s a lot more to rely on than a salad if you’re eating plant-based. Burger King has the Impossible Whopper featuring a meatless patty as well as a few secretly vegan options such as the French Toast Sticks and Hashbrowns.

2. White Castle

Known for its mini square-shaped sliders, this hamburger chain jumped on the plant-based bandwagon at some participating locations. You can find an Impossible Slider on some White Castle menus.

3. Del Taco

This was the first national Mexican fast-food chain to offer Beyond Meat at the company’s 580 restaurants across the country. Del Taco has the Beyond Avocado Taco on the menu along with the Epic Beyond Original Mex Burrito and Avocado Veggie Bowl.

4. Carl's Jr.

Another brand synonymous with beef burgers, Carl’s Jr. offers several plant-based options for veggie and plant lover such as Beyond Famous Star Burger and Guacamole Thickburger.

5. Taco Bell

This fast-food restaurant may have been one of the first you frequented while transitioning to plant-based eating. That’s because Taco Bell has eight million vegetarian combinations and sells 350 million vegetarian items a year through menu substitutions or ordering off their vegetarian menu. In fact, they were the first quick-service restaurant to offer American Vegetarian Association (AVA) certified food options.

6. Starbucks

From the time it started offering breakfast sandwiches in 2006, the coffee conglomerate became a competitor in the fast-food space. You can get your favorite hot and cold beverages made with almond, coconut or oat milk but there are also plant-based food options available such as the Baja Black Bean Veggie Wrap, bagel with vegan cream cheese and Impossible Breakfast Sandwich.