#AceFoodNews – UNITED STATES – August 26 – I really love the smell of pumpkin (especially in the Fall), but, there is at least one seasonal pumpkin treat that I will never order and that’s the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. With more than 200 million sold to date, these drinks sell like hotcakes this time of year, and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said it “still ranks as its most popular seasonal beverage”. But, does anyone know what’s really in it?
I found out, and I am going to break it all down for you here:
But first, I want to mention that I get riled up when restaurants refuse to disclose their ingredients, because we have the right to know what we are eating and drinking. I have tried for years to get ingredient information from Starbucks and it’s been a bit frustrating to say the least. If you have ever tried emailing their customer service for ingredients you probably know what I am talking about.
This week, we emailed them asking for the complete list of ingredients in the Pumpkin Spice Latte and this was their response:
“The Pumpkin Spice Latte is of pumpkin and traditional fall spice flavours combined with espresso and steamed milk, topped with whipped cream and pumpkin pie spice. If you ever have any questions or concerns in the future, please don’t hesitate to get in touch”.
After several more emails back and forth, they were still refusing to share the ingredients:
While we understand that some customers would like to know the nutrition information for their specific customized beverage, unfortunately we are unable to provide this level of detail for every beverage customization request. The beverage information that is available on Starbucks.com reflects the beverage offerings currently on our menu with the most common customization options.
For a company that prides itself in its transparency, it’s unbelievable to me that this is how they respond to customers who ask for information about what’s in their drinks. After really putting the pressure on, I was finally able to get the complete list, but it wasn’t easy. While they list some ingredients on their website, they still do not list the ingredients in their most popular items: their drinks! This includes all of their lattes, frappuccinos, macchiatos, smoothies, etc. Starbucks doesn’t even publish the ingredients in their “Kid’s Drinks” – keeping parents completely in the dark. If you have a food allergy, their allergen information isn’t available on-line either.
How’s that for transparency?
Besides trying to get an employee to spill the beans, pretty much the only way to get the ingredients in their drinks is to go into their online store and search for each of the individual components that make up these drinks, but they are not all listed here. Quite frankly, this is a pain. This also requires you to know all of the components that make up the drink that you order. For instance, the Pumpkin Spice Latte is not just espresso, syrup and milk. If you order it the usual way on the menu, it contains espresso, pumpkin sauce, steamed milk (or soy milk), whipped cream and spice topping – and these each come with their own ingredient list.
Another way to get ingredients is to email and call customer service, or to ask a corporate contact at Starbucks (if you’re lucky enough to know one like me). We used all of these avenues to get the ingredients in this drink, and you know what?