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Starbucks to Expand Gluten-Free Options

After repeated shareholder pressure, Starbucks has finally decided to expand their options to accommodate to the needs of the gluten-free community. 

Since the gluten-free selection at Starbucks is slim, this is very exciting news! 

"We have really screwed up the gluten-free stuff," said Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz at a recent shareholders meeting. Schultz recently shared that over the years, shareholders have put constant pressure on him to provide more gluten-free options to customers. Schultz has since insisted that he plans to fix it because this is a "big opportunity." 

Their newest gluten-free offering, announced nationally on Monday, is called Hippeas, and is an organic chickpea puff that comes in two flavors: white cheddar and fajita. In addition to being gluten-free, Hippeas are also vegan and kosher. 

In addition to the new gluten-free snack, Starbucks will also begin offering almond milk, a clear nod to those who would like milk in their coffee but need to avoid both dairy and soy. 

Starbucks plans to roll-out these new options at select locations starting September 6th, and nationwide by the end of the month. 

Gluten-Free Options at Starbucks

In 2009, Starbucks proved that it was a trend starter and innovator when it began offering a gluten-free almond orange cake. They unfortunately quickly discontinued the pastry, and have since expressed frustration with the difficult task of offering gluten-free baked goods in a facility with so many cross contamination issues. 

"Items in our pastry case can be subject to cross contamination, and we also use shared equipment," Starbucks spokeswoman Erin Schaeffer explained. "Adding gluten-free options to our broader food portfolio has posed a challenge that we continue to explore." 

Current nationwide gluten-free options at Starbucks include different fruit and nut snacks, jerky and Pop Gourmet Popcorn. Regional options include the Marshmallow Dream Bar, Justin's Peanut Butter Cups, Food Should Taste Good chips, Lucy's Cookies and, my personal favorite, KIND Bars. Starbucks serves prepared salads but do not have cross contamination policies in their kitchens. 

What About the Coffee?

Starbucks has been notoriously unwilling to make any promises regarding their prepared beverages. The company actually advises those with celiac and gluten sensitivity against ordering beverages prepared behind the counter. While many people claim to have no reaction when drinking their coffees, the blended drinks and other coffees with syrup have a history of giving people gluten symptoms.

Starbucks is also adamant about not providing detailed ingredient lists for their specialty drinks, especially their holiday treats. Ingredients vary depending upon location and product availability, so they are unwilling to stick to a set list. While a company spokesperson stated that the 2015 pumpkin spice latte had no gluten containing ingredients, it was still made on the same machines as drinks that do contain gluten, so was rife with cross contamination. We're still waiting to hear on the 2016 latte, but honestly folks, you should probably avoid these drinks. 

For tea drinkers, four of the Starbucks Tazo Teas contain gluten: Green Ginger, Tazo Honeybush, Lemon Ginger and Tea Lemonade. In addition, because the same tongs are used to dispense all of their tea bags, you run the risk of cross contamination by ordering tea. 

Bottled versions of Starbucks Frappuccinos and other bottled drinks including the Starbucks Double Shot and Starbucks Doubleshot Energy, are labeled gluten-free. 

Plans for the Future

While the current situation at Starbucks isn't ideal, they do seem to be waking up and it appears that the future looks bright!

Starbucks recently reported that they are looking to add gluten-free salads and other snacks, and are also hoping to offer syrups for blended coffee drinks that meet gluten-free standards. They did not, however, offer a timeline for these additions (which we will welcome with open arms)! 

Hey Starbucks, if you are reading this, we wouldn't mind a gluten-free croissant!


Learn more about supplements for people with Celiac and gluten-sensitivity.


Thomas Starefos:


Jan 10, 2017


Without cross contamination avoidance, it simply isn’t gluten free. Don’t advertise gf unless it is a gf kitchen

Dec 04, 2016

Barbara erbe:

They used to have a GF lemon cake in a wrapper (preventing cross contamination) that was really good. I wish they would bring it back

Dec 03, 2016


what’s the big deal. Dunkin Donuts did it for awhile, not sure they still do. I for one do not like their coffee much prefer Starbucks, which I am hooked on. I have gone to Starbucks for coffee and actually had to bring my own snack!! Come on Starbucks get with the program. I may as well stay home and drink it. Get in prepackaged snacks, donuts, muffins, etc. I am sure its not that complicated!

Dec 02, 2016

Susan Wood:

First of all, it is unconscionable that the coffees and teas would contain gluten. That is the first no brainer-no barley /malt in the syrups. Duh. I only drink the coffee, never ever a blended drink.
Second, bring back the almond orange cake. Cross contamination isn’t an issue because they came wrapped. They were moist, they were AWESOME.
Third, there are SO MANY excellent and wrapped gluten free things available, it is illogical that they have not offered anything good.

Dec 01, 2016


I’m sorry, but I don’t see anything that exciting or newsworthy in this. I don’t want a health food bar, nuts or snack item to have with my Starbucks coffee while I watch the person with me eat a blueberry muffin, scone or cheese Danish.

Dec 01, 2016


It honestly depends on how sensitive you are. I ask to read the labels on all of the syrups and while they aren’t labelled GF, there aren’t problematic ingredients in the ones I like. If they don’t have the label handy, I don’t order it. The hot drinks are less of an issue in terms of potential contamination because they have to clean the stirring implements between drinks, etc. The biggest potential area are Frappuccinos. They are supposed to clean the blender between every drink, but sometimes they get busy or someone is new or whatever and they forget. I just remind them to make certain to do so before preparing my beverage.

I know it isn’t a perfect solution for everyone and I have been consistently surprised by how behind they are in terms of GF offerings given how progressive the company is overall, but I just wanted to chime in that there are options. Obviously, if you’re super sensitive, this info won’t really help you, but for folks who aren’t as sensitive, I thought it might.

Also, I would assume that you could ask them to wash the tongs or get a clean pair if you wanted tea. I’ve found that the majority of baristas are willing to be as helpful as they can within the parameters they have. Oh, and don’t ask if products are GF: you’ll get the standard Starbucks disclaimer. Instead, just ask to see the syrup bottles and read for yourself. A lot of their syrups are made by Torani, and I actually buy them at home, too.

At any rate, I’m glad to hear that they are at least slowly starting to work on this.

Dec 01, 2016


The reticence to make any ground on gluten free offerings sooner is why I, as a Celiac sufferer, became a Dutch Brothers loyalist almost as soon as I was diagnosed. Many beverage options and a growing selection of foods.

Dec 01, 2016


I’m not impressed. At all. If I want packaged snacks, I can find more options at the gas station. Others are able to do it so it’s mind blowing that Starbucks chooses not to. It is after all, a choice. Considering that over 90% of people with celiac disease aren’t diagnosed YET, it’s also a wasted opportunity. I was a Starbucks junkie until I was diagnosed. Now my fiancé and I pass up Starbucks to go places that have options for me (oh yes, others are offering “legit” gluten free flavored latte’s and the best cookies & brownies that I’ve ever had, certified gluten free from dedicated bakeries). Incidentally, whoever we are with (friends, family) also pass up Starbucks so we can enjoy a coffee somewhere together. So it’s not just my business that Starbucks is losing. They can keep their puffed snack. And then discontinue it…

Nov 30, 2016

Jeanne :

I only buy their plain brewed coffee, black. I bring my own favorite creamer as theirs are always sweetened and I don’t like my coffee sweet. I also sometimes get their plain black tea. I’m a sensitive celiac so have to be very careful about cross contact, etc. For me personally it doesn’t matter all that much if they have snacks I can eat; I’m used to living with my disease (5 years after diagnosis) so am very used to only eating whole foods and snacks I make at home. No big deal. I have appreciated Starbucks in the past when travelling, as they’re often the only place in an airport that has something I can eat (if I’m not in the mood to eat stuff I have prepacked in my backpack): fresh, pre-packed fruit salad.

Nov 30, 2016

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