Starbucks and Pumpkin Spice

» September 14th, 2013

A vegan walks into a Starbucks and orders a pumpkin spiced soy latte. Later he discovers that the spice mix contained condensed milk. Understandably, he gets angry, starts a change.org petition for Starbucks to use a vegan spice mix, and makes national news.

Although he had no way of knowing it, he also landed me—the token vegan runner in my running group— on the hot seat this morning with a bunch of highly intelligent runners who wanted me to explain why, in a world of considerable toil and trouble, this spice thing mattered. “Very rich white person troubles, no?” said one friend.

I had to admit she had a point. I mean, getting peeved about condensed milk power in a spice mix at Starbucks is sort of like walking into slaughterhouse and getting angry that they’re not using humane mouse traps. It’s arbitrary.

While I really want to defend the vegan’s right to both transparency and hope in the good faith of companies to do what’s right by animals when the option exists, I can’t help but conclude that this little protest would have been far more effective had the vegan just made a personal choice never to frequent Starbucks again. The petition, and national attention that followed, looked trivial and, in light of the Starbuck’s context, it was.

The petition, however, does remind us that vegans are on the verge of numerical significance. Still, an incident like this might have been handled more effectively if we used our growing numbers to highlight how large food companies routinely sneak unknown ingredients into the food and drinks we purchase. We might have made this more than a vegan issue, but also a public health issue, thereby pulling in more non-vegans to think about our food supply in more critical terms, rather than looking petulant over pumpkin spice.

 

 

42 Responses to Starbucks and Pumpkin Spice

  1. Dawn says:

    I sent an email to Starbucks months ago asking which of their drinks were vegan. They told me that they could not id all their ingredients, and if there was a question, I shouldn’t drink the beverage.
    I haven’t.

    Perhaps some of us can trivialize our own choice not to consume milk in our soy beverages, and for those of us who only get somewhat ill from the dairy, even that may not seem so important. Certainly the federal government and an entire industry does not care.

    But for some people, what is in their food can and does kill them. People have the right to know what it is their food, and where it came from, and that should never be trivialized.

    People die from ingredients carelessly thrown into their food. Even if they are merely making a choice, it should not be trivialized.

    • Lori Woods says:

      Exactly. I hate to see any attempt at transparency, particularly regarding animal products, trivialized and “assigned” to less importance categories. Every little bit helps and while some may choose just not to drink the drink or patronize the establishment, others may choose to try and change things, no matter how small that thing may seem to even other vegans.

  2. kat says:

    I recently ordered vegan pizza with another vegan friend at a veg friendly restaurant. The waitress came back to the table without a pizza and apologized, saying, “I’m so sorry. Our chef forgot to use vegan cheese and accidentally made your pizza with mozzarella cheese, so we’re in the process of making a new one for you.” We said…”Oh thanks, no problem, we’re not in a hurry. A while later she came back again and said, “You’re not going to believe this, but our chef made your pizza again and used vegan cheese this time, but out of habit grabbed the parmesan, and sprinkled parmesan on your pizza.” I said, “Please… don’t make another one, you’ll just be wasting all this food. Bring it out and we’ll eat it the way it is. Neither of us is lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy. We are ethical vegans and do it for the animals. Making and remaking pizzas and creating waste isn’t helping anyone.” The manager later stopped by and thanked us for being understanding and accepting their semi-vegan pizza, and apologized profusely. He also handed us two vegan cupcakes which are about the best in town.

    I don’t believe Starbucks claims any of it’s products to be vegan, so there is no intent to sell a vegan product to the public. Unfortunately, just because we may order a latte with soy instead of dairy, does not guarantee a 100% vegan latte. It’s up to the vegan to verify exactly what’s in the ingredient list, and it’s the responsibility of Starbucks to know exactly what ingredients are in each product and be able to let the consumer know.

    • Karen Dawn says:

      I just wanted to thank Kat for that pizza story. I have received so much flak for not being a “strict” vegan, in situations where the strictness would harm rather than hurt the animals. Like you, I don’t think I could have stomached a fully non vegan pizza, and I hope yours got eaten by somebody in the kitchen. But nor can I stomach watching the product of a bovine female’s torture go into the garbage because of a messed up order, so i hope that in that situation (of the second messed up pizza) I could have stomached the parmesan. Thank you for being a thinking activist — and for make the restaurant owner feel positive about serving vegans.

      • Monica Ball says:

        While I understand the thinking here, I maintain that if someone kills me and then decides to eat my corpse, that does not in any way diminish the atrocity of killing me but rather adds to it. Likewise, if someone enslaves me, tortures me, and steals my breast milk, if he then consumes the milk, it only makes it worse and more depraved. In both cases, and in the case of all animal products, I’d much prefer that my corpse, my milk, and any animal product ends up in the garbage where no one gets to take pleasure from these products of immense suffering.

        • Mountain says:

          There is no such thing. Everything that was once alive is eaten by someone or something. There is no magical “garbage” in which things simply disappear from the biosphere. They end up in landfill, or compost piles, or flushed out into oceans, where animals and others eat them.

  3. patricia tallman says:

    that’s a really good point, James!

  4. Karen NBvW says:

    In truth, part of all this is the particular S’bucks you frequent…my reg. S’bucks baristas are quick to point out non vegan aspects in their products. They know ME and they know the products contents

  5. John T. Maher says:

    Three issues here James brings to the fore:

    1. Choice. In a neoliberal world choice is predefined by a category and difference becomes repetition. Your “choice” is predetermined set of embodied content. Thus the choice is resituated from an ethical one of vegan v. non-vegan to one of the trivial difference between two consumerist accumulations of wealth in a steaming cup with a plastic lid. In the context of USDA rulemaking petitions, Free Trade Agreements, attempting to redefine USDA content definitions, court decisions (with an important exception) and ballot initiatives, agricultural interests essentially argue that the American people are too stupid to choose by claiming that proper labeling in the context of GMOs, hormones, country of origin (COOL), and other content is “confusing”. To some extent agra-industry is correct as humans have become disconnected from their food source and its embodied content in Marxist terms, its social hieroglyph). However it is our mission to raise awareness and demand that humans (re)consider source and content and what that means for individual and collective responsibility for food choices.

    2. Coercive Social Normalization of cruelty. Without stating outright that James belongs to a fascist running group, I will state that any group seeks to impose norms of shared values, which to me is fascist by definition even if say all the members of the running group might happen to be members of, for example, the Texas Communist Party. I know, not likely to happen in Texas, nor do I recommend this elsewhere. This is the realm of Sociologists but the coercive element of questioning James’ concern for critters and commitment to practicing veganism by invoking a discussion of white privilege is disingenuous. First, I acknowledge up front that anyone drinking putrid and over roasted Starbucks coffee is privileged. However, one retains that privilege only to the degree that one acts within the social norms of the group and is not othered by means of declaring that values are not completely shared. For example, when I was in High School I refused to buy a football team jacket and instead bought a (pre-vegan) motorcycle jacket and was told I was a disgrace to the team by refusing to conform. Only later did I realize that the motorcycle jacket itself meant conforming to a different group and its identity politics but it was useful as I actually rode a motorcycle. James’ expression of choice may seem privileged but the truth is entering a global middle class chain franchise like Starbucks is where the privilege enters the picture, not by holding Starbucks accountable for hidden dairy product content in the seasoning (by the way — in case no one else mentions it — Eeeew! although in the case of McStarbucks this may actually camouflage the bitter overroasted taste). I am all for engaging others in a discussion of accountability and candor in content disclosure so that true choices can be made as opposed to the phony choice between two seasonal flavors. We have seen this recently with Sikhs in New Jersey, I have done this at a Korean restaurant when sausage came with the salad, and prisoners are demanding vegan diets. In support of this, have explored such cases with potential plaintiffs in the past but never found one within tho New York area to litigate.

    3. Public Health. This has been discussed in Eating Plants previously and should be discussed more in terms of both cholesterol and zoonoses and the hidden costs of animal agriculture. Please consider looking at Dave Simon’s new book Meatonomic$ which essentially translates the economic theory behind the cost externalities of animal agriculture, such as the public health cost, and how this amounts to a hidden subsidy. Full disclosure: I provided review and comment on the draft manuscript, but this just means I know how good the book is.

    • Karen says:

      I’m with John, especially on #2. While I was not aware of the spice controversy, I understand it from the vegan’s point of view. Any small amount of animal in a commerical product represents huge amounts of suffering. It’s a typical non-vegan response to use the elitist accusation when someone brings attention to it. We should not respond by caving in and agreeing that there are more important things to concern ourselves with. Every little, tiny bit helps. How could one vegan choosing not to frequent Starbucks again ever have had a larger, more important effect that the change.org petition? I’m sorry, but that’s caving. Are non-vegans sometimes put off by the “extremism” of vegans who bring these issues to public awareness? Yes, of course. But my hope is that such controversies will make thinking non-vegans think some more rather than dismiss them as trivial. Veganism is a movement that must happen one person at a time. Every person counts; thus, every tiny controversy counts. Also, companies always have the option of doing right by animals. They do. They just choose to stay in business and make money off the lives of helpless animals who truly don’t have the choice. Finally, James. I know I don’t have to remind you that the mouse being trapped in the “inhumane” traps values her life every bit as much as the cow, pig, chicken, etc. being slaughtered. I dream of the day when glue traps are banned throughout the world.

      • John T. Maher says:

        Very important points you make!

      • I also have to chime in support of John’s argument, particularly #2, as well as Karen’s additional points. It is not up to the larger group, in this case, the running club, to dictate to JM or to anyone what is worthy of being considered important regarding what they put into their bodies. This is the exact kind of bully imposition of so-called norms that try and derail the whole basic tenet of veganism. In addition, as others have mentioned, for those of us with food allergies it is an added matter of importance. But ethics alone should be sufficient – no one else gets to decide what is important to ME. This is how progress does not happen- when people decide to decide what matters to others and to dismiss the importance of not going along with the established norms whether food or non-food related. Jeez – it’s like “mean girls” without the make-up. ~Linda

        • Mountain says:

          But they didn’t dictate to JM what he could put in his body, nor did they bully or impose. They (or at least one member of the group) asked him to explain why this spice thing mattered. James was free to slam his vegan beverage down on the table, yell “I don’t have to explain myself to any of you ambulators!,” and storm out of Starbucks.

          • I tend to think that reasoned discussion is (almost always) more productive than dramatic outbursts of expression – although there are times when slamming the drink down is more appropriate :)

            True, they did not tell him what to put into his body, but by framing the issue as a challenge of elite white people (paraphrasing) they are suggesting that the suffering of the female cows and progeny as well as any potential dietary allergy concerns is not worthy of being considered by anyone other than the privileged upper class – overcoming that perception, I think, is one of the major challenges of presenting the core issues of veganism to the all populations. ~Linda

    • Pauline says:

      Regarding John’s point #2 above, this probably identifies a perennial problem for many vegans. I work in the charity sector in a very deprived part of London (and have done for several decades), where people are struggling to obtain enough food to eat, clothes to wear and money to pay their bills (if they indeed have a roof over their heads to start with). There are problems with high unemployment, poor education, racial discrimination, low income levels of those in work, insufficient and inadequate housing stock, overcrowded living conditions, “broken” or one parent families, with consequent social effects, drug taking, antisocial behaviour, etc., etc.

      My experience of being vegan in such an environment is of being surrounded by constant and total incomprehension. People have not the remotest notion of what it’s all about – and if ever discussed, the prevailing attitude is that it’s very definitely a white, middle class (affluent), Western decision made from a position of luxury. In my vegetarian (pre-vegan) days there was some vague understanding and acceptance, but now, not too much tolerance of the relinquishing of dairy products and subsequent declining of the cake and chocolates that pass around the office on a regular basis, or cheese and egg sandwiches (carefully labelled “veggie”) provided for work lunches, or request not to be required to purchase the office milk in the morning. I’m now really being just too difficult.
      I find myself constantly explaining that it is possible to care about more than one thing at a time, that caring about the suffering of nonhuman animals, and declining to consume their flesh or by-products, in no way detracts from my ability to also care about humans. That we are all one in our ability to suffer and in our will to live.

      But, it’s an uphill battle.

      Still, obviously an important one in the face of such adversity, even if it’s just a matter of being the only vegan presence in the room, with subliminal message that this might send to one or two people… however slight.

    • Ellen K says:

      Just back from hearing Dave Simon lecture here in Boston this afternoon, and with two copies of the book which I’d been looking forward to ever since learning of it in June. Glad to hear of your review/comment.

    • Mountain says:

      John, I think you (& Karen & Fluffy) are mistaken about point #2. There’s nothing coercive or fascist about James’ running group asking him to explain why this spice thing mattered. There was no threat of force or exclusion, it was just an opening to inform & possibly to persuade. A running group, with or without shared social norms, is an example not of fascism, but of voluntary cooperation– known in certain econ circles as “spontaneous order” and in certain constitutional law circles as “the right of the people peaceably to assemble” or “freedom of association.”

      • John T. Maher says:

        Yeah well I used fascist more as in the adjectival sense of Godwin’s law but something in that direction still fits. JMc wrote ‘Very rich white person troubles, no?’ which seemed to me to be as I described — singling out our blogger for a transgressive act threatening the social order by means of public ridicule. I did not intuit an invitation to discuss white privilege and the link with animal instrumentality, The alternative you suggest — hey maybe you are correct — was they were runners/sociology professors making a collective observation — but I don’t think so or they would have used the third person and engaged in collective self-abnegation the moment they walked through the door. It is not like this group asked James to explain, but rather the comment was one which invited a quietus under threat of ostracism by making a point of singling out our host as a privileged white-boy and coercively threatening an end to further discussion about dairy content. For the most part Americans are incapable of discussing race intelligently and admitting their own complicity in at last the structural elements of racism so this is a sort of semiotextual means of silencing someone in academia because even the most intelligent and progressive thinking about race and identity is marginalized at most Unis in favor of standardized administrative happy talk of which no one wants to run afoul. So I stand my ground here.

        Yes humans define and order themselves ontologically as Szasz pointed out but I fail to grasp the connection with economic or legal theory here.

        Do you know anything about little purple peruvian potatoes? I am thinking of growing some next year but can’t get much info from the Cornell cooperative extension here in NY. Interested in what soil pH would be best.

        • Mountain says:

          Yeah, well, the rampant mis-use of the word “fascist” is a pet peeve of mine. It’s an empty smear word of the Left, much as “socialist” is an empty smear word of the Right, much as “misogynist” is an empty smear word in academia. Actual fascism is uniting through force; voluntary cooperation is uniting through choice. They are on complete opposite ends of the spectrum, but people lazily conflate them.

          As for purple potatoes, I know that the original potatoes were purple and from Peru, so I assume the modern purple peruvian potatoes are more closely related than are the standard varieties. As for soil pH, I know that google is your friend (4.8-6.5, so somewhat on the acidic side).

      • While it may not be overtly coercive, the questioning of someone to explain the validity of beliefs held and actions taken based on ethical foundations always, at least to me, smacks of a bit of bullying. Maybe it’s because I have been dealing with it since 1986 and in those early years was often put in the position of defending my choice – like I owed the non-vegs an explanation of my beliefs. I might be very sensitive about it. But there is a subtle difference between philosophical banter among friends and surreptitious pressure to conform to societal norms. And I think vegans in particular have a finely tuned radar to know the difference more than people who have not been on the other side of the discussion and felt the pressure to just be one of the others. ~Linda

        • Mountain says:

          I suppose all social interactions are open to different interpretations. The running groups I have known have been so mild-mannered as to be almost neutered. And in the very off-chance that someone in the group wanted to be a bully, where’s the leverage? I trust James has many friends outside the running group, and isn’t afraid of leaving the running group if they inexplicably start behaving like bullies. And what are the odds that the rest of the group would side with a bully trying to ostracize James for being vegan?

          • In the case of James and his running friends, overt bullying is unlikely, as you point out. But it has larger implications for society in general. Many people don’t like to see people wander too far from the pack, and if those choices in wandering cause others to have to examine their own ethics and behavior, the pressure to conform is often even more heavy. This is in order to stop the process of self-examination, which, of course, may lead to someone concluding that they have to change their eating choices. ~Linda

  6. Simple Solution says:

    I would really like to know if there is something like vegan investing. I regularly visit vegan and animal rights sites and I ask myself this question and I also ask myself the question why nobody asks this question.

    People are willing to donate=lose money (which is great) but they are not asking for ways to help while keeping or increasing their money. Imagine what could be achieved if only a few tens of thousands of vegans invested only a few thousands of $. It would be like the activation energy in chemistry. The alternative is waiting for IT billionaires to help animals every now and then almost by accident.

  7. Nick Pokoluk says:

    Well I think it is a big deal. In my world of pharmaceutical manufacturing even the small detail od non-compliance with FDA guidelines will get us in a heap of trouble. This person assumed compliance with an ideal and it was not warranted. I think I’d Starbucks promoted the drink as vegan it is a big deal. However, if they did not it is an observation that can be made public I’d one decides it rises to the level of importance to do so. For me it does as I ask for soy at at Starbucks because I am a vegan. Now I know.

  8. catherine case says:

    We need to get an organized effort together to persuade Starbucks to prepare proper Vegan options.

  9. Karen Dawn says:

    I checked out the petition, which in my opinion is an example of warm, friendly, effective activism. In a positive Starbucks-friendly tone it makes clear to the company (and perhaps other companies) that dairy is no longer a benign ingredient that can be added to everything without fear of blowback. And I don’t think the addition of dairy here there and everywhere is “trivial” and I am so glad the folks at Starbucks, thanks to Brent Caldwell, are learning that. They wouldn’t have if he had just stopped frequenting Starbucks. I am at a loss as to how that would have been a more effective protest.
    I am bummed to see Caldwell getting criticism for his activism from within the movement. As usual “we have met the enemy and it is us.”
    I am going to paste the petition below so that people can see what they think of it:
    https://www.google.com/#q=starbucks+change.org+pumpkin+spice

    Petition by

    Brent Caldwell

    Ferndale, MI

    I am a huge fan of Starbucks. My girlfriend and I will visit our favorite location up to four times a week. We are also both vegan. Normally this is not a tremendous issue at Starbucks because so many drinks can be made with vegan and dairy-free ingredients, which generally just means using soy milk instead of cows milk.

    Sadly, in the case of the seasonal Pumpkin Spice Latte, this does not hold true. There is currently no vegan option for this drink mix, which is a total bummer. After speaking with numerous other friends of mine from across the country, I have decided to start this petition to ask Starbucks to please change the ingredients of this beloved beverage so that all of their loyal patrons may enjoy it every autumn — even the vegans and lactose-intolerant customers!

    Many people are shocked to hear that the mix contains condensed milk because there’s no way anyone would be able to tell walking into a store and placing an order. Employees don’t even realize it has milk in it!

    A previous petition on Change.org convinced Starbucks to stop using crushed bugs as a food coloring because that just doesn’t make sense regardless of if you’re vegan or not.

    This also makes sense regardless of if you’re vegan or lactose-intolerant or not because nothing about ‘pumpkin’ or ‘spice’ has to come from an animal! And Starbucks can already make drinks with soy milk — which they charge extra for, but that’s a whole different complaint.

    :)

  10. James says:

    I can see the merit all of these arguments for the petition. Thanks for them. I’m still struggling, though, with the “very rich white person’s problem” nature of the complaint. I understand that we can have many concerns at once, and care about many causes at once, but at a moment in time when innocent people are being doused with chemical weaponry by their government, is milk power in what is essentially a stupid, highly processed drink worth all this attention? What I was hinting at in my piece was that we might be better off promoting the inherent dangers of these kinds of foods/drinks—vegan or not—in the first place, rather than asking a company that could care less about veganism to make a bad drink vegan.
    JM

    • Mountain says:

      James, I agree that it is a “very rich white person’s problem,” but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth your attention. After all, you have to play the very rich white person’s cards you’ve been dealt.

      While the killings in Syria, by both chemical and conventional weapons, are a much more serious problem than condensed milk in a highly processed drink for rich people, is your attention really better spent on thinking about Syria? Maybe if there were any chance that your thought & attention to the matter could diminish the killing in Syria, but I think it’s a safe bet that your thought & attention will have zero impact on the suffering of the Syrian people.

      Meanwhile, the non-veganality of pumpkin spice lattes may be a trivial matter, but it’s a trivial matter that you could change for the better. Syria is a much more important matter, but there is zero chance of you changing it for the better.

      • Karen Dawn says:

        I am upset to read, on this particular page, about the greater importance of the use of chemical weapons in Syria as compared to the “trivial” hidden dairy in a drink consumed by many millions. Perhaps I have misunderstood, but is the use of chemical weapons in Syria more serious because it involves the torture of humans rather than the torture of non humans? While I know that is the common thinking of the world, which we need to overcome, my best guess is that many people on this page, if they really think about it, question it, might find they don’t actually believe it and are just spouting what society expects us to believe and to say. The torture of humans in Syria and of cows throughout the Western world are both truly serious issues. We don’t need to rank them, and we certainly don’t need to be calling the use of dairy “trivial.” Jo asks how the running team would have reacted if it were canine milk. And I ask people on this page, who I assume like to think of themselves as non speciesist, though I would not ask this of the general public (because image matters) : If the powered milk were the breast milk of human adolescents who had been taken from their families and spent most of their lives hooked up to milking machines, who would be slaughtered as soon as their productivity waned, would this issue be “trivial”? I am thankful Brent Caldwell didn’t make that particular argument in his petition as I don’t think it is one that the general public is ready to hear, but I do think it is one anybody on this page writing that this issue is trivial needs to think about. These are not rich white people problems, they are hideously abused bovine female problems. While we may not choose, as yet, to present them as such to Starbucks, we should not forget the point and certainly shouldn’t propagate the myth that vegan preferences are trivial.

        • I agree with James on the matter of “white privilege.” There is no reason that the human mind, in all of its complexity, cannot care about and take action to resolve multiple problems at once. This false priority is something that anti-vegans, as well as vivisectors and others often use to try and goad people into an argument that has no merit. One can care about multiple species and their concerns. It is not either/or, and I have a hard time engaging anyone who tries to force such a tired and transparent meme into the conversation. If that is their only argument, then they are signaling that they are on their last philosophical tool in the toolbox.

          Mountain brings up an excellent point about Syria. Other than contacting our country’s representatives and perhaps sending some money to an aid organization, what can we really do? Meanwhile, we can, with every meal, snack, and coffee, make choices with our dollars that affect the economy and those who profit on whatever we buy. We have a chance to make our dollar count and our voice heard.

          Thank you Karen Dawn, for making the important point that this is NOT a “white people’s” or any people’s problem, it is the problem of suffering cows and their children. Damn straight! ~Linda

        • Mountain says:

          I’m sorry to hear you’re upset, Karen, but the suffering caused by the use of dairy in Starbucks’ pumpkin spice lattes is trivial compared to the suffering in the Syrian civil war– more than 100,000 people have been killed already, along with an uncountable amount of injuries, destruction, and other harm.

          It’s true, I’m sure, that the suffering caused by the dairy industry worldwide swamps the suffering of the Syrian civil war, but this post & discussion were specifically about Starbucks’ pumpkin spice lattes.

          • Karen Dawn says:

            Ah, but I wrote, “Perhaps I have misunderstood, but is the use of chemical weapons in Syria more serious because it involves the torture of humans rather than the torture of non humans?” And you have answered that indeed I had misunderstood, it is a matter of scale rather than species (I was mistakenly focusing just on the chemical attack in Syria that has been so much in the news). So while I think my further comments about the dangers of treating the issue as “trivial” are fair, I see I had no need to object your comparison, and I appreciate the explanation (as I so often appreciate your comments).

          • Lori Woods says:

            The argument of human suffering, whether it be from war or famines or other (usually human-caused) tragedies, in the discussion of animal suffering is usually 1) insincere or 2) irrelevant. (It’s not like the starving children of Africa are being fed pumpkin spice and depend upon it for life!)

            I recently read that a huge percentage of factory-farmed eggs are used in the making of mayonnaise and if we cut out that or used vegan mayonnaise, we could lower a great deal of chicken suffering. It seems to me no one here knows the exact amount of dairy that is used in all of Starbucks’ pumpkin spice drinks and foods (not to mention other companies that use similar spices) and it could be a quite significant amount.

            Considering the suffering and slaughter that the dairy industry produces, I’m surprised that we’re even having this discussion on this blog.

  11. Jo Tyler says:

    Maybe not the most pressing reason to start a change.org petition. But I’d be curious to find out how your running partners would react to a Starbucks drink that contained dog’s milk obtained from puppy mills? If they would object, would they consider their objection to be a matter of rich white privilege, carnist reasoning or conscience?

    • Interesting point, Jo. (And James, obviously you raised some really good points too!) It’s clear from the comments here that this issue is not as simple as it may seem at first blush. I’m not convinced that the petition IS that trivial in the grand scheme of things where animals are concerned, or where vegans are concerned. There is a larger point. And I’m not sure anyone would be crying “rich white person problem” if it were somewhere other than Starbucks. Certainly there is an enormous sliding scale of problems, regardless of who they “belong” to…but vegans are making their voices heard, and for many of us, those voices are speaking for the animals. I signed the petition, and I don’t even like the pumpkin spice latte. I signed it because we have a right to know what’s in the food we consume and because it raises awareness, at least with Starbucks, that vegans are a market and we deserve consideration. When we can eat things, drink things, and wear things without harming animals, why wouldn’t we?

    • James says:

      I’ll ask them.
      -j

  12. Pauline says:

    What’s pumpkin spice?

    • Mountain says:

      It’s a traditional blend of spices, typically used in making pumpkin pie: cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. It can also include allspice, cloves, and mace.

      • Pauline says:

        Thanks. Coming from the UK, I have never heard of it. Nor have I ever bought a drink from Starbucks (or any other coffee shop).

        • Mountain says:

          It looks like Mixed Spice in the UK is fairly analogous, with all the spices commonly found in Pumpkin Spice, plus coriander and carraway.

  13. [...] has been a fascinating and lively conversation over at The Pitchfork which started from the issue of Starbucks having a pumpkin spice latte drink that appears to be [...]

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