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Starbucks Removes Dairy & Adds Gluten to Frappaccino

I wasn’t going to blog about this. I was simply going to tweet, post on my FB page and move on. But, the more I think about it, the more it angers me. Starbucks removed dairy from their Frappaccino Light base mix, but then added gluten in place of it. So, it is dairy-free now, though still not considered vegan due to potential cross-contamination. I didn’t drink this specific drink before, so it is not going to affect me personally, but it will affect many others. This from a company that rolled out a gluten-free cake last year, though it was short-lived, and carries numerous gluten-free snacks. It just doesn’t make sense to me, though I am sure it makes sense to someone at Starbucks.

According to Starbucks, gluten-free customers can still order a regular frappaccino and ask for non-fat milk to make it light. However, there is potential for cross-contamination. Seems the reason for the change is to make the drinks more customizable, like other Starbuck’s drinks. There is now the option of using soy milk instead of cow’s milk. More information on the change can be found here.

I was already less than pleased with Starbucks due to them charging for wireless when most places offer it for free. As if their coffee didn’t already cost enough, please, let me pay for wireless while I am drinking my liquid gold. And, not only do you have to pay for the wireless, but if don’t have a “Starbucks card or account”, you can’t just sign up from the store. You have to do it in advance because they send a confirmation to your email, which you can’t access without wireless.

Okay, vent over. Thank you for allowing me to get that out. I will be patronizing coffee shops that care about their customers (ahem, Caribou), not chase them away.

13 comments to Starbucks Removes Dairy & Adds Gluten to Frappaccino

  • Kristen

    It's all about the money! Unfortunately, the gluten-free aspect of the drink probably didn't increase their bottom line enough….or it was perceived that making the drink dairy-free would increase their profit more than the gluten-free. Unfortunately, the money speaks much louder than the health concerns of their customers.

  • So frustrating. I contacted them, as I usually do every once in a while to see if there were any of the newer products I could have. They won't give any gluten free info anymore. Just a CYA statement that they can't guarantee anything.

    There are some great local places in Milwaukee I should be frequenting more anyway, here is my chance I guess.

  • Julie Garmon

    Thanks for the scoop, Kim.

  • Thanks for the latest Kim. It's frustrating that such a huge corporation can't do more to aid those with special needs. How much profit do they need?!!

  • Wow! This is a shame. I am continually disappointed in the decisions that Starbucks makes as a company.

  • Michelle

    Don't forget Columbus-area Stauf's and Cup o Joe too. They're carrying a lot of Cherbourg Bakery items now.

  • I see that I am not the only one irked by this.

    Michelle – Yes, I know. Stauf's & Cup O Joe aren't close by. I do have 2 Caribou's within 5 minutes, though. I love that they are carrying Cherbourg stuff! :)

    Kristen – I understand that gluten-free may not be making Starbuck's $$, however, changing a recipe and adding gluten is a good way to upset loyal customers who were able to purchase other items in their stores. I appreciate that they were trying to accommodate those who wished to have a dairy-free drink, but was it necessary to add gluten? Was there really no other ingredient out there that could have been used instead? I am not directing this towards you, I am just talking in general. :)

  • I have been boycotting Starbucks since your wireless fiasco and finding the Copco coffee cups! ;-)

    Wish we had a Caribou here in NM.

  • It is my understanding that the "light" ones still contain dairy, but not the regular (so the same as the gluten issue). That was the report we received and what I seem to be reading in the news stories, but please do let me know if you have found otherwise. I don't drink coffee myself, but like to make sure I give out the right facts.

    Very funny that they wouldn't label it vegan due to potential cross-contamination. Most packaged and prepared foods labeled as vegan have some risk for cross-contamination!

  • Kim


    The information I got says the light base mix is dairy-free and the customer can have it made with soy milk instead of cow's milk. This link has more information:


  • Kim, I think there may be some mixing of words, so it is hard to say. It specifically says, "Frappuccino fans who can't tolerate lactose are in luck. Frappuccino Light fans who can't tolerate gluten will have to find another drink."

    See the response quarrygirl got from Starbucks management –… – they specifically state that the light one is not vegan/dairy-free, but the regular is. Not sure what is going on?

  • I tried a sample (one sip) of the soy strawberry that they were handing out at a starbucks on the Pa turnpike.

    I was very ill until late Tuesday evening and this is the only thing different I had.

    Starbucks could not tell me if it was gluten free at the time they were handing out the samples…. reason for only one sip…. But now I am told it is gluten free, I will tell you as sick as I was something was in it that contained gluten.

    (I swore it was barley – the way I reacted)

    I won't be visiting/buying them until they start being more customer oriented and allergy/celiac compliant.

    Glad you blogged :)

  • [...] about the dairy status of the Light Frappaccino mix brought up in the comment section of my post on Starbuck’s the other day. To get clarification, I emailed Starbuck’s and this is the response that I [...]

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