First the National Organization for Marriage gets all sandy-panties, and now the vegans are going nuts over a natural food coloring, passing the scarlet panic onwards to omnivores. Starbucks just can’t stay out of hot water.
After supporting LGBT rights and marriage equality, the super-venti global coffee corp was put on notice by those shrill, conservative, divisive equality haters, National Organization for Marriage, who issued a fatwa and called for a boycott of the multinational chain. Oooh, we’re all shaking like a Frappuccino® over that huge scare. Not. Hardly made a dent in Starby’s business, and may have increased it actually, since people who don’t normally buy coffee there (like me) did so to show their support of their local boite des Buxes.
Now vegans and the slightly more food-flexible vegetarians are upset because Starbucks uses a natural red dye in their strawberry Frappuccinos®: Dye made from crushed cochineal bugs, as the company states they have a
goal to minimize artificial ingredients in our products. While the strawberry base isn’t a vegan product, it helps us move away from artificial dyes.
Starbucks uses the natural dye–FDA approved, made from the innards of a New World insect which has been sourced as a colorant since before the time of the Conquistadors and whose origins were once one the world’s most closely guarded secrets–in their red velvet whoopie pies birthday cake pops and mini donuts with pink icing.
This is why we can’t have nice things. So let’s make it easy–how about no artificial color at all. No pink drinks. No pink icing. No luridly insect blood-stained red velvet whoopie pies. There’s no real need for a strawberry Frappuccino® to be a colored with a dye because it’s made with real red strawberries, right? Oh…never mind.
Of course, objections to the use of the natural cochineal coloring, as opposed to some nasty man-made chemical dye, in Starbuck’s food–and in other products–could negatively impact the 40,00 people in Peru who labor in cactus fields, scraping cochineal bugs off prickly pear cactus paddles, then mushing the insects into paste and selling them to support their families as they have since before the arrival of the colonial Spaniards.
On April 4, Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz will be on Fox Business with Liz Claman at 3 pm Eastern to discuss NOM’s epic fail boycott, their company’s expansion into China, and U.S. job creation (Starbuck’s has teamed up with the Opportunity Finance Network® (OFN) for the Create Jobs for USA program designed to create and sustain jobs, and seeding $5 million to provide financing to underserved community businesses which include small business loans, community center financing, housing project financing and microfinance).
And yes, Schultz will probably have to address the bug guts issue.