FACT CHECK: Did Starbucks Say It Was Ending The Upcharge For Plant-Based Milk To Fight ‘Dietary Racism’?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

A post shared on Twitter claims Starbucks announced it will end its upcharge on plant-based milk in early 2022.

Verdict: False

The announcement does not appear on the Starbucks website or its Twitter account. The company confirmed the press release was fake.

Fact Check:

The tweet reads, “Starbucks announced it will stop charging extra for plant-based milk, and instead add an upcharge on dairy milk. The change will take effect in N.A. in 2022. The decision was reportedly based on the prevalence of lactose intolerance in the POC communities.” Similar claims have also been shared on Facebook.

The rumor stems from a purported company press release sent out via email late last week that alleged Starbucks “will end the upcharge for plant-based milk and instead add a charge for dairy-based beverages” starting in early January 2022 as part of an “initiative to eradicate dietary racism.” The supposed press release also claimed Starbucks will introduce the “Justice Cup,” which is described as a “hot cup that lets customers declare their support for innovation, sustainability, and equality.”

The press release, however, was not issued by Starbucks. Check Your Fact reviewed press releases published on the company’s official website and found no matching announcement. A statement about the company removing the upcharge on plant-based milk and adding one to dairy milk also does not appear in any tweets on the verified @StarbucksNews Twitter account, which frequently shares news about the company.

The alleged press release and associated website contain indicators that the announcement did not come from Starbucks. For instance, the press release included an email address affiliated with starbuckscares.com, a website that has no apparent connection to the company. The social media icons at the bottom of the starbuckscares.com webpage also direct users to the fake Starbucks press release rather than verified social media profiles.

“This announcement is false and this website is not associated with Starbucks,” a Starbucks spokesperson confirmed in an email to Check Your Fact. (RELATED: Is Starbucks Offering A Free Frappuccino To Anyone Who Shouts ‘Black Lives Matter’ In One Of Its Stores?)

Some media outlets such as Business Insider and Plant Based News originally reported on the press release as if it was real. Both later updated their respective articles to reflect it was fake.

The nonprofit Switch4Good took credit for the fake press release, saying on its website that it “believes charging extra for non-dairy milk is a form of dietary racism.” Switch4Good also says on its website that it partnered with The Yes Men to mount the “undercover ‘brandjacking’ campaign.” The Yes Men includes the fake announcement on its own website.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
Follow Elias on Twitter Have a fact check suggestion? Send ideas to [email protected].