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Starbucks said yesterday that it now is selling a plant-based protein beverage - the Protein Blended Cold Brew in almond and cacao flavors. The drink will be available through the autumn months, while supplies last.

USA Today reports that “the nondairy 16-ounce drinks are made from pea and brown-rice protein … The new almond drink is made with almond milk, almond butter and 12 grams of plant-based protein and contains 270 calories, 12 grams of fat and 22 grams of sugar, according to Starbucks. The sweetness comes from what the Seattle-based chain calls the Banana Date Fruit Blend as well as coconut sugar; there's no refined sugar.

“The cacao version comes with coconut milk, cacao powder and 10 grams of plant-based protein. It has 250 calories, 9 grams of fat and 26 grams of sugar.”

CEO Kevin Johnson has been quoted as saying that “plant-based beverages, plant-based proteins are a choice that many consumers are gravitating toward.”

USA Today notes that “from faux-beef burgers to infused energy bars, plant-based proteins are a growing trend in the U.S. – and not just among people who eschew eating animal proteins, such as beef, poultry and pork.

“Three out of five Americans say they want more protein in their diets, according to research firm NPD Group. Fourteen percent of U.S. consumers, or more than 43 million people, regularly use plant-based products, and 86 percent of them aren't vegans or vegetarian.”
KC's View:
I note that this new drink is being positioned as being in the health-0and-wellness category, but 250-plus calories doesn’t sound all that healthy to me. Then again, compared to 420 calories for a grande Caramel Frappuccino Blended Coffee, that’s not so bad.