Why is it that Starbucks UK gets all of the good things? On October 1, all 995 Starbucks locations in the UK added a vegan pumpkin spice cookie to the menu.
The spicy and sweet cookie is flavored with the same spice blend as the coffee shop giant’s iconic Pumpkin Spice Latte: nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon. It is also speckled with pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries and retails for £2.10. The news was shared last week by the Instagram account Accidentally Vegan UK.
The UK is all too familiar with vegan options at Starbucks. This year, you can top your PSL with soy whipped cream. Not only is there no dairy-free whipped cream at stateside Starbucks, but also not even the PSL syrup is vegan. In Europe, it’s been vegan since 2018, when a new recipe was introduced.
Like the PSL, the autumnal cookie will only be available throughout the fall.
Why the UK Gets So Many Vegan Options
There is a growing consumer demand for plant-based products in the UK. New Mintel data released this summer indicates that the UK is more favorable to plant-based food than ever before. An estimated 8 million have adopted flexitarian eating habits; nearly a quarter have upped their fruit and vegetable intake. Part of this was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but interest in plant-based food has steadily risen in recent years.
Data from global research firm Mintel shows that the UK launched more new vegan products than any other nation in 2018, outpacing Germany (the previous #1 spot) and the US. According to the UK-based law firm EMW, successful new vegan food trademarks increased by 128 percent in 2019.
Like Starbucks and its vegan pumpkin spice cookie, companies have recognized the value in catering to sweet tooths. In June, Veggie Pret, a vegetarian offshoot of the coffee-centric chain Pret a Manger, made all of its bakery options vegan. Offerings include croissants, brownies, and muffins, all made without animal ingredients. Previous offerings were popular, according to the chain.
“Our previous vegan bakery products, like the Dark Chocolate & Almond Butter Cookie and The Very Berry Croissant, have always been big hits with customers—vegan and non-vegan alike,” said Clare Clough, UK MD of Pret.