Care for Bugs With Your Frappucino?

by Sean Bryant on April 21, 2012

20120421-115903.jpgThe other day my wife and I were talking and she asked me if I had heard the news that Starbucks was using crushed cochineal bugs as a red food dye in products such as strawberry Frappucinos, strawberry-banana smoothies, red velvet whoopsie pies and pink iced mint donuts. My first thought was that is was disgusting. Now don’t get me wrong I am only going to be grossed out by a few things but this was one of them.

The first thing I asked myself was why would they use bugs as a dye in their products. Activists will react to anything extreme so the company should have known that this was going to cause outrage from groups such as PETA. It did cause these groups to speak out and it worked.

Thursday, after being nicknamed Starbugs by vegan activists, Starbucks announced that it will start using a tomato-based extract to color it’s food. The change should be implemented by June.

“Starbucks clearly learned from its error after switching to a dye from insects, and since no one, vegetarian or not, wants beetle juice in their Frap, everyone will soon celebrate the fact that it’s gone for good,” said PETA’s David Byer.

Using the bugs was most likely the cheaper option and a good way to cut costs, but is that really worth ruining the publics opinion of the company with so many people? What are your thoughts on this? Were you planning on boycotting Starbucks when you heard this? Are you going back now that they will be making the change?


The following two tabs change content below.

Sean Bryant

Sean Bryant created in 2011 to help pass along his knowledge of finance and economics to others. After graduating from the University of Iowa with a degree in economics he worked as a construction superintendent before jumping into the world of finance. Sean has worked on the trade desk for a commodities brokerage firm, he was a project manager for an investment research company and was a CDO analyst at a big bank. That being said he brings a good understanding of the finance field to the One Smart Dollar community. When not working Sean and he wife are avid world travelers. He enjoys spending time with his daughter Colette and dog Charlie.
  • I don’t know if I would openly boycott Starbucks just because of a way that they decided to “naturally” color their products. I was just thankful that the products that were affected were ones that I never bought.

  • Ugh. I drank those.. that’s brutal. No more Starbugs for me.

  • That’s gross. There should be a class action lawsuit against them. First we have pink slime in our burgers, then we have bugs in our drinks. What’s next?

  • I’m glad I don’t drink starbucks.

  • Boomerger

    The only thing I buy is Apple Caramel Spice from Starbugs. I wonder if and how they can fuck THAT up?

  • For some reason I don’t consider this all that gross. People consume all kinds of nasty stuff, so what’s the big deal with a bit of crushed bugs? In some countries eating bugs is a delicacy. The funny part is that lots of candy companies likely still maintain this practice. I recall reading an article describing the ingredients that goes into various candy. Nasty stuff to say the least.

  • Lisa Kling

    Who would have imagined! I’m glad I quit Starbucks a couple of years ago and started supporting the small local coffee shops instead – they are less expensive.
    Lisa @

  • Pingback: Friday Finds 4/27 | Three Thrifty Guys()

Previous post:

Next post: