Starbucks, the world’s largest coffeehouse chain, set ambitious 2030 targets to reduce its water and carbon footprints by half. Further solidifying the company’s commitment to sustainability and dairy in particular, Starbucks joined the U.S. Dairy Net Zero Initiative in 2020.
“Our future is tied to the future of farmers, their families, and the health of our planet,” said Kelly Bangston, senior vice president and chief procurement officer at Starbucks. She talked about their commitment to the environment and to farmers during the opening presentation of the Sustainable Agriculture Summit held in Las Vegas, Nev.
“Dairy farmers of all sizes in all regions and all farming systems have the potential to lead the industry in an even more sustainable direction,” Bangston said.
She acknowledged that it has never been harder to be a farmer than it is now, and their company has a responsibility to help drive solutions that make agriculture more environmentally friendly.
“We are eager to engage with you to support farmers, workers, animal welfare, and our planet,” she continued, “but we need your help. We need to learn together, we need to grow together, and we need to work together toward the future.”
When asked about Starbucks’ commitment to serving dairy in its stores, Bangston said, “Dairy is super important to Starbucks. Since we introduced our first hand-crafted beverage in 1984, milk has been an integral ingredient for the company.”
She noted that dairy is included in 60% of their core beverage offerings, in addition to the cheese, yogurt, and butter that is included as ingredients in other food items. Yet, Bangston shared that the company will keep expanding its plant-based options as well.
“We will continue to serve plant-based food and beverages in our stores,” she said. “Customers have an increasing demand for them and an interest in a wide variety of products.”
She continued, “That does not mean we will ever step away from dairy, though. Dairy is a critical piece of the innovation pipeline we are working on, and it’s a critical piece of how we want to be seen and where we want to focus in the future.”
Bangston believes there is room for both in Startbucks’ future. “There’s a harmony and balance that will continue to live in our stores between plant-based and dairy,” she stated.
As a member of Starbucks leadership team, Bangston reiterated their dedication to dairy, though. “We are committed to dairy and are committed to a sustainable dairy future,” she said.