Stop using bugs to color your strawberry flavored drinks
  • Petitioned Starbucks

This petition was delivered to:


Stop using bugs to color your strawberry flavored drinks

    1. Daelyn Fortney
    2. Petition by

      Daelyn Fortney

      Greenville, SC

April 2012


What originally began as a story to inform vegans that their Starbucks' Strawberry Frappucino was no longer safe to consume ended up being an issue that bothered many people. Individuals across the country and world turned their single voices into one steady roar that informed Starbucks of their displeasure. Thanks to social media and my petition on, within a matter of weeks, Starbucks has agreed to rectify the situation, showing that it is a stand-up company that cares about its consumers.


It was recently discovered that the Strawberries & Crème Frappuccino as well as the Strawberry Smoothies at Starbucks contain cochineal extract. So what is cochineal extract? Well, simply stated… bugs.

Cochineal extract is a red dye made out of dried female cochineal insects. Reports indicate it takes 70,000 cochineal to produce 1 pound of the red dye. Known to cause a rare, but severe allergic reactions in some individuals, the FDA requires manufacturers to list the “cochineal” in the ingredient’s list.

Once promoted as vegan-friendly drinks (when made with soy milk), the strawberry beverages at Starbucks are no longer an option to those following a plant-based diet. Additionally, the drinks are not safe for those following a kosher diet.

In response to a recent article on This Dish is Veg that warned readers of the cochineal extract, Starbucks provided the following statement:

“At Starbucks, we strive to carry products that meet a variety of dietary lifestyles and needs. We also have the goal to minimize artificial ingredients in our products. While the strawberry base isn’t a vegan product, it helps us move away from artificial dyes.”

While it’s commendable to move away from artificial ingredients, there are other natural means to achieve the red coloring. Red beet, black carrot, purple sweet potato and paprika are all-natural alternatives to artificial dyes and safe for those with dietary restrictions. (And those who don’t want crushed bugs in their designer drink.)

Please let Starbucks know, you don’t want bugs in your drink!

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 6,000 signatures
    2. Starbucks likely to change controversial drink

      Pulin Modi
      Senior Campaigner

      Starbucks' Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz said on "CBS This Morning" that the company will probably change their products to remove the crushed bug extract. There is currently no set deadline for the change, but we will keep you update if and when it happens.

    3. Reached 5,000 signatures
    4. Have you turned on the news?

      Pulin Modi
      Senior Campaigner

      If you've read, watched, or listened to the news in the last few days, chances are that you know about Daelyn's petition. Many consumers are shocked to know that Starbucks is using a product from crushed bugs. Here's a Washington Post article, "The new pink slime? Beetles in Starbucks frappuccinos anger consumers."

    5. Reached 2,000 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Sara Garrido COIMBRA, PORTUGAL
      • over 2 years ago

      why killing bugs to have a special colour in our drink?

    • Tony Snearly CAMDEN, AR
      • over 2 years ago

      While I supportive that Starbucks is actively moving away from artificial ingredients, perhaps fresh strawberries in your strawberry drink would be a far better choice than covertly feeding customers insects.

    • Marvin House KNOXVILLE, TN
      • over 2 years ago

      One more reason not to do business with this coffee fad chain.

    • Natasha Millikan BROOKLYN, NY
      • over 2 years ago

      Way to ignore the values of your consumers, quietly and behind our backs. Strawberry color can actually come from interesting, little-known red fruits called strawberries.

    • Cyndi Lion KAMLOOPS, CANADA
      • over 2 years ago

      There are other options that can and should be explored. I am not a vegan, but I am disturbed by this new ingredient! Please stop!


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