Nutrition

Starbucks posts calorie counts

 
 
KRT FOOD STORY SLUGGED: COOLDRINK  KRT PHOTOGRAPH VIA CHICAGO TRIBUNE (KRT105-August 11) When the heat index rises, an icy Frappuccino from Starbucks coffee does the trick. A delicious concoction of iced coffee, milk and crushed ice blended into a frothy medley makes a cool drink with an extra caffeine kick.  (TB) PL (jak51857) 1997 (COLOR)
KRT FOOD STORY SLUGGED: COOLDRINK KRT PHOTOGRAPH VIA CHICAGO TRIBUNE (KRT105-August 11) When the heat index rises, an icy Frappuccino from Starbucks coffee does the trick. A delicious concoction of iced coffee, milk and crushed ice blended into a frothy medley makes a cool drink with an extra caffeine kick. (TB) PL (jak51857) 1997 (COLOR)
KRT

AP Food Industry Writer

Starbucks has a new way to wake up its customers: showing the calories in its drinks.

The Seattle-based coffee chain started posting calorie counts on menu boards nationwide this week, ahead of a federal regulation that would require it to do so.

Calorie counts on menus are already required in some parts of the country, including New York City.

Customers at Starbucks’ more than 11,000 U.S. locations are able to see that there are 300 calories in a small caramel Frappuccino and 230 calories in a small Iced Caffe Mocha.

Pastry cases also show calorie information, in case customers want to save some calories and opt for a Morning Bun (350 calories) instead of a blueberry scone (460 calories).

The move by Starbucks comes as the Food and Drug Administration irons out the details of a regulation that would require companies with more than 20 locations to post calorie information on their menus. Other chains including McDonald’s Corp. have also moved ahead with posting the information, saying they’re providing it to be more transparent rather than because they’re being forced to.

In its announcement, Starbucks highlighted the various steps it has taken over the years to give customers choices, such as adding sugar-free syrup in 1997 and making 2 percent milk the standard for core beverages in North America in 2007.

The company notes that it already provides nutrition information on its website, through its iPhone app and with printed brochures in cafes. It also says there are numerous ways people can reduce the calories in their drinks, such as by asking for non-fat milk, sugar-free syrup or no whipped cream.

A representative for the company did not know what percentage of customers ask to have their drinks customized.

It’s not clear how posted calorie counts affect what people choose to order. But in announcing its plans to post calorie information nationwide last year, the head of McDonald’s USA at the time said that providing the information doesn’t really change the company’s overall menu mix.

While a few national chains already put calorie information on their menus, a “large majority” are waiting for the FDA to issue its final guidelines, according to Sue Hensley, a spokeswoman for the National Restaurant Association.

The group expects the regulation to take effect by sometime next year.

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