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Starbucks adds protein-packed, plant-based blended drink

The coffee chain is courting health-focused customers amid a Frappuccino sales slump.
starbucks almond protein blended cold brew
Photograph courtesy of Starbucks

As Frappuccino sales nose-dive, Starbucks is looking to drive afternoon traffic among health-focused consumers with two new plant-based blended drinks, launched Tuesday.

The limited-time 16-ounce Protein Blended Cold Brew beverages are offered in two varieties: almond and cacao. The Almond Protein Blended Cold Brew is made with cold-brew coffee, almond milk, plant-based protein powder, almond butter, a banana-date fruit blend and ice. It has 12 grams of protein. The Cacao Protein Blended Cold Brew, with 10 grams of protein, is made with cold brew, coconut milk, plant-based protein, cacao powder, banana-date fruit blend and ice. Consumers can request additional packets of protein powder.

It's the first time Starbucks has menued a drink that combines coffee and protein, though not the first time it has offered a plant-based blended beverage. (That honor goes to the Horchata Almond Milk Frappuccino, the company says.)

The coffee giant has seen steep declines in Frappuccino sales in recent years. In 2015, sales of the blended beverages grew 17% year over year. But by May 2018, Frappuccino revenues had dropped 3% over the previous year, according to Starbucks data. Company officials blame the downward trend on consumers seeking items with less sugar and fat as well as those looking for plant-based menu items.

The new nondairy beverages will be available while supplies last, according to a Starbucks press release.

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