Starbucks put vegan beef made by Beyond Meat on the menu in the Middle East. The plant-based food appears on two sandwiches the coffee giant recently released as part of its partnership with Beyond Meat. But the sandwiches themselves contain dairy and are not vegan.
The Seattle-based chain launched the menu items earlier this month in response to a growing demand for plant-based protein alternatives in the region. The new additions are now available at approximately 190 outlets in Dubai. They’re also available in locations in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates and across Kuwait.
“Starbucks is always looking to develop new and exciting products for our customers who want to eat more plant-rich foods,” Rana Shaheen, the Regional Communications and CSR Manager for Starbucks Coffee MENA, said in a statement. “We will continue to innovate our food and beverage menu, offering greater variation and more delicious plant-based choices, as we work towards becoming a resource positive company.”
What Plant-Based Sandwiches Did Starbucks Add to Menus in the Middle East?
Starbucks developed the two new sandwiches in conjunction with California-based Beyond Meat. The menu items are the Beyond Meat Triple Cheese Wrap and the Beyond Meatball Arabian Ciabatta. They specifically crafted the items in order to cater to local consumer’s tastes. And while the sandwiches are both vegetarian-friendly, they both contain cheese and aren’t vegan.
The Beyond Meat Triple Cheese Wrap contains Beyond Meat. It also features a three-cheese blend that includes red cheddar, mozzarella and feta. The cheese is topped with herb-roasted bell peppers and marinara sauce.
The Beyond Meatball Arabian Ciabatta, on the other hand, is a more savory option. It features Beyond Meat meatballs on a bed of labneh and baby spinach, surrounded by ciabatta bread.
This is hardly the first time Starbucks has added plant-based choices to its menus across the globe. For example, in April 2020, the chain partnered with Beyond Meat, OmniPork and Oatly to create a plant-based menu in China. And in September of last year, Starbucks added plant-based items on its menus in Asia. These included products made with Impossible Foods. Similarly, Starbucks introduced vegan whipped cream and four vegan sandwiches (some made with Beyond Meat) in the UK last month.
Stateside, the chain has been rolling out various vegan and vegetarian menu items for the past several years. In June 2020, for example, Starbucks launched a breakfast sandwich made with sausage from Impossible Foods at stores across the country.
The company has even started encouraging customers to order plant-based items. And, earlier this month, announced it would be offering a discount to customers taking part in Meatless Mondays. The promotion began on January 4 and concludes on January 25. Per its terms, Starbucks will give U.S.-based customers $2 off three meatless menu items on Mondays. These include the Impossible™ Breakfast Sandwich, the Southwest Veggie Wrap, and the Spinach, Feta & Egg White Wrap.
As far as plant-based milks go, Starbucks has been offering dairy-free milk to customers since 1997. That’s when it added soymilk to its menus. Coconut milk followed in 2015, and Starbucks added almond milk to menus a year later. Last month, Starbucks confirmed it would add oat milk to stores nationwide this spring. The company also noted that oat milk would be part of a “growing menu of plant-based options across platforms from espresso, to cold brew, refreshment, and food, as well as non-dairy creamers.”