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Starbucks to post calorie counts

Jun 18 2013 18:58
Starbucks established itself as the “third place”

Starbucks established itself as the “third place” after the home and the office. (Picture: AFP)

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

The Seattle-based coffee chain said it will start posting calorie counts on menu boards nationwide from next week.

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

But starting June 25, Starbucks said customers at its more than 10 000 US locations will be able to see that there are 300 calories in a small caramel Frappuccino and 230 calories in a small Iced Caffe Mocha.

Pastry cases will 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 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% milk the standard for core beverages in North America in 2007.

The company noted that it already provides nutrition information on its website, through its iPhone app and with printed brochures in cafes.

It also said 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.

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 spokesperson for the National Restaurant Association.

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

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