Frappucci-NO WAY! Starbucks Serves Squashed Bugs

Did you hear the one about the bugs in the frappuccino?

Unfortunately, this isn’t the beginning of a joke.  I’m actually referring to the latest news about the food additives in Starbucks beverages.

According to this article, the international coffee giant has been dying their Strawberries & Crème Frappuccinos with cochineal extract, a “natural” coloring additive made of crushed cochineal bugs.  And it doesn’t look like they’re planning on stopping.

Well, I guess I can see how the company is trying to keep a natural/green image, and I give them props for not using some of the toxic artificial colorings out there.  At the same time, though, there are plenty of other natural, non-insect/animal sources of vibrant color – in fact, some are so easy that you could make them at home!

And bugs?   Really?  Is anyone else grossed out by this?  Of course!  Especially the vegan community, who have already started a petition against the company’s use of the ingredient, which you can sign here if you’d like.

All in all, whenever this kind of story makes the news, it makes you wonder what else the FDA allows in your food.  Then again, maybe you really don’t want to know.  But how can we eat healthier if we don’t know what exactly we’re eating now?  This is why we need to be conscious consumers!

Personally, I can’t remember the last time I frequented Starbucks, so this really doesn’t affect me.  What about you?  Do you think it’s okay for companies to use natural ingredients like this, even though they are non-vegetarian/vegan?  And would you drink one of these strawberry frapps, now that you know what gives them their color?

I’d love to hear any/all of your thoughts.  Please feel free to leave a comment below!


6 thoughts on “Frappucci-NO WAY! Starbucks Serves Squashed Bugs

  1. A few months ago, a colleague of mine who teaches science gave a presentation about eating bugs and how relatively common it is in the rest of the world, while in America we see it as gross. The most interesting thing I took away from her discussion is that there is an allowable number of “bug parts” in all food. So, in a way, we’re all eating some bugs all the time. Check out the FDA’s website for info on that. (Sidenote: When she offered up bug samples for everyone to try, I didn’t take any!)

  2. I work for a local non-profit in Naperville and recently we got a huge stock of Kopi Luwak coffee come in…they came in small packets that only made one cup of coffee and were $18, for a pound the cost is $100. It’s the most expensive coffee in the world and it’s made from weasel shit. Literally. In Indonesia, weasels eat the coffee berries and as they go through their digestive tract, their is some enzymatic process that happens and gives the beans apparently some amazing taste. The coffee beans keep their shape and farmers pick up the beans that have been deposited and then pack them up. Insane huh? People love their coffee.

  3. Fun fact : Roasted Grasshoppers are a delicacy. And they taste pretty good, if you stop thinking about what you’re eating. In fact, if you go to Mexico, you can have all the roasted insects you want.

    This is a shock to a lot of Americans and frankly I don’t see what the big deal is. Cochineal extract has been used in food for thousands of years around the world and continues to be used in products found in the supermarket today. Just because most people skip reading the label doesn’t mean they haven’t had any and it’s a better alternative to the synthetic dyes whose names no one can pronounce.

    And it’s disingenuous to say Starbucks is serving “squashed bugs” because that’s not extactly what it is. Sure it makes a nice headline (and the news agencies are exploiting that as well), but it’s a half truth.

    You wouldn’t call coffee, bean juice.
    You wouldn’t call milk cow juice.

    Also, last I checked veganism isn’t a religion, but it’s sure starting to act like one by demanding the rest of the world change to its demands.

    • Yes, I’ve heard of many insect delicacies, although I’m not sure I’d ever have the guts to try them! I think it’s mainly a cultural thing, whether it’s considered gross or not… Some cultures are exposed to many more, scarier-looking insects than we are in the sheltered US! So for a lot of countries, it’s no big deal to eat the little ones. 😉

      I agree – natural definitely beats the FD&C Red dyes. But I think the main thing vegans are upset about this is that Starbucks could be using other natural colorings (red beet extract, for example) that do the job just as well, yet don’t kill animals. Some people also get mild to severe allergic reactions to the cochineal extract, which is another reason people are wary.

      I have an idea! How about they just use real strawberries to do the job? I don’t know, would people get upset over that, too? ;P

      Thanks for your input! I appreciate it! 🙂

      • I re-read my comment and I may have come off as a wee bit irascible. Apologies for that; I don’t do it on purpose and I’m working on it. Also (cue the excuses) I don’t think I had my coffee at the time.

        Real strawberries are what all “mom and pop” establishemnts and proper health food shops use, but since chains like Starbucks are all about mass production, their raw ingredients cut corners a bit. It’s unfortunate, but maybe things will change in the future.

        If Starbucks does start using strawberries, you bet we’ll see a wall of angst over how Goliath is stomping out the competition by gobbling up all the available supplies and driving up prices.

        As for eating bugs, grasshoppers (at about 1 – 1 1/2 inches) is about the maximum size I’m willing to tolerate and that was more about idle curiosity than expanding my palate. Let’s put it this way: I have no plans to make coffee, orange juice, pancakes and scorpion my regular breakfast menu 😉 .

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