Is Starbucks’ Newly Offered Coconut Milk ‘Fake’?

Is Starbucks’ Newly Offered Coconut Milk ‘Fake’?

If you don’t mind paying an extra 60 cents for a non-dairy alternative, Starbucks is now offering coconut milk as an additive for your daily coffee habit. But this coconut milk may not be so pure.

The mega-chain is hoping that the ‘certified vegan’ coconut milk they offer will please clients who have dairy intolerances, and can’t consume soy.

A Starbucks press release says that demand for coconut milk is through the roof. In an online survey offered on their site, adding coconut milk generated over 84,000 votes – more than they’ve seen for any other product offering. Coconut milk started to be offered February 17th at Starbucks’ throughout the US.

But some skeptics are saying that Starbucks is pulling a fast one, and selling its eager audience coconut milk that isn’t really coconut milk. It isn’t just a watered down version of coconut milk, which most of us wouldn’t be surprised to find out. The ‘coconut water’ Starbucks is reportedly using contains corn (possibly GMO), multiple gums, and carrageenan – according to one researcher who posted a picture “from a barista at Starbucks.”


This skeptic argues that while Starbucks needs to keep the consistency of coconut milk it uses relatively stable (since no one wants chunks of white stuff floating in their coffee cup) it still isn’t advisable to use a product that contains:

  • “Natural flavors” – We all know how ubiquitous these can be – many ‘natural’ flavors were nothing more than chemicals in multiple food trials, but Pepsi-Co and others have had to pay millions to force them to take them out of our food and stop calling something carcinogenic “natural.”
  • Corn dextrin – This is probably used as a thickening agent, but is also likely made from GM corn since so much of it is planted throughout the US now.

Why not just add two ingredients which are normally in real coconut milk – coconut milk and water?

Starbucks markets their “single origin Sumatra coconut milk…from the tropical Indonesian island of Sumatra.” Could this really be the case?