Actor Starbucks Protest
FILE - Actor James Cromwell arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Tuesday, June 12, 2018. Cromwell glued his hand to a midtown Manhattan Starbucks counter to protest the coffee chain’s extra charge for plant-based milk, Tuesday, May 10, 2022, in New York. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)
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Interfaith group asks Starbucks to drop vegan milk surcharge

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A group of Christian, Hindu, Buddhist and Jewish leaders is asking Starbucks to stop charging extra for vegan milk alternatives, saying the practice amounts to a tax on people who have embraced plant-based lifestyles.

In a statement issued Friday, an interfaith coalition led by Nevada-based Hindu activist Rajan Zed pressed the coffee chain to end the surcharges it called “unethical and unfair.”

“A coffee company should not be in the business of taxing individuals who had chosen the plant-based lifestyle,” said Zed's statement, which was also signed by Thomas W. Blake, an Episcopal priest; Greek Orthodox clergyman Stephen R. Karcher; Buddhist priest Matthew Fisher; and Jewish rabbi ElizaBeth Webb Beyer.

The religious leaders cited numerous reasons why some Starbucks customers prefer alternatives to dairy, including dietary restrictions, ethical issues, environmental concerns, lactose intolerance, milk allergies and animal welfare.

Those who want plant-based milk should not have to pay more, they said, calling on the Seattle-based company's CEO, Howard Schultz, and board chair Mellody Hobson to immediately drop the surcharge.

Starbucks outlets in the United States typically charge 50 cents to a dollar more for drinks made with plant-based milks.

Starbucks doesn't charge for a splash of nondairy milk, including soy milk, coconut milk, almond milk and oat milk, though it does levy a surcharge for customized beverages made largely with those substitutes, spokesperson Megan Adams told The Associated Press.

It is not the first time Starbucks' surcharge has riled the public. On Tuesday, activist and actor James Cromwell glued his hand to the counter of a Starbucks franchise in New York City to protest the practice.

Cromwell, 81, later used a knife to scrape it off. Police said there were no arrests.

© Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

6 Comments
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My question would be, are the vegan substitutes more expensive and, if so, how much extra cost do they add to the cost of the product?

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I have a hard time taking serious vegans who would drink Starbucks. There’s a bit of a disconnect between these two things.

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I have a hard time taking serious vegans who would drink Starbucks. There’s a bit of a disconnect between these two things.

I'm intrigued; why? There is nothing intrinsically non-vegan about a cup of coffee. The vegans are asking for nondairy milk; how is that not vegan?

If the plant-based milks cost more than dairy milk, I see nothing wrong with charging more.

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There are two reasons to be vegan - wanting to be ethical to animals, and/or wanting to be ethical to the planet. Well, health would be a third.

As for the first two, Starbucks mass bean-production for world-wide cheap distribution is neither good for the planet, nor peripherally to the animals in the places where they mass produce these beans.

For people who are vegan die their health I guess there’s not any particular reason to avoid Starbucks if they are doing it vegan.

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For people who are vegan die their health…

* for their health…

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the practice amounts to a tax on people who have embraced plant-based lifestyles

Sorry but why should those of us who have embraced other lifestyles effectively subsidize their preferences?

There is a place that I like to tell people with such views to go.

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