Starbucks' New Vegan Dessert Is Proof the Chain Is Trying to Be Healthier
Last month, Starbucks announced it would close 150 stores across the nation, but then CEO Kevin Johnson said that Starbucks would focus on offering healthier items in the future. And it appears that they’re sticking to their word. Last week, Starbucks released two new iced coffee beverages featuring coconut milk, and now they’re offering a new vegan dessert item, thanks to a special collaboration.
The sweet treats are called Dream Pops, which are futuristic-looking, plant-based ice cream bars that are free of gluten, soy, dairy, and a laundry list of additives normally found in store-bought desserts. They're also low in sugar and calories: each pop is under 100 calories and has under 5g of sugar. The 3D pops are made of ingredients such as coconut palm sugar, tapioca, and agave, the brand's founders told Vogue in 2016.
Before you race for the nearest Starbucks, you should know that this new vegan dessert item is only being offered at five stores in the Los Angeles area, for $3.95 each. It's not clear if this vegan treat will expand to any other Starbucks stores at this time, but it’s available through October 5 of this year, according to a representative for Starbucks' global communications team.
But, there’s good news: Dream Pops are available for purchase online—and Tasting Table reports that starting July 15, the vegan "ice cream" treats will be available for purchase nationwide. You can buy different flavors, such as vanilla matcha, mango rosemary, and coconut latte, for $45 for a tray of 10 pops, which works out to be around $4.50 each with expedited shipping (dry ice is included so your pops won’t melt).
The startup brand has been working for the last three years to launch the product. Starbucks is one of many collaborations under their belt—in the past, Dream Pops has worked with Apple, Nike, and SoulCycle.
There’s just one downside: the higher-than-normal fat content of these plant-based desserts raised a nutritional red flag with our editors. While each flavor has a different nutritional profile, all of the Dream Pops hold upwards of 5 to 6g of saturated fat, and looking at the very short ingredients list, it's not too hard to understand why.
Coconut milk is the first of seven ingredients used in one of the most popular Dream Pops product, and coconut byproducts are notorious for their higher saturated fat counts—including the once-viral coconut oil. Cooking Light's nutrition director has previously tackled why coconut products, including coconut oil, are not healthy.
That being said, we're excited to see Starbucks double down on health-focused items after years of focusing on other trends (and even reducing diet-friendly alternative products in the past). It remains to be seen if these vegan desserts will roll out across Starbucks stores nationwide, but if you're interested in learning more about Dream Pops' nutrition makeup, or trying a sample for yourself, you can do so right here.