Please Help Bring Back Gluten-Free Cake to Starbucks, or perhaps maybe something allergen-free?
image courtesy of A Gluten Free Guide
When Starbucks announced at the end of April that they would begin carrying a gluten-free option in their coffee houses, the gluten free community rejoiced. After years of letters and petitions, our voices were finally being heard.
The Valencia Orange Cake was individually packaged, and was kept behind the counter. The reviews were mixed: some thought it was too orange-zesty (me!), others thought the texture was off, and even others complained that the moistness created a breeding ground for mold. There was also criticism that the overly-sweet cake had almonds, another *very* common allergen. The cake was also packed full of fat and calories.
All of these factors, and the fact that the gluten-free population is only a teeny fraction of full-of-gluten consumers led to Starbucks' decision to pull the plug on their offering.
I get it that they pulled the product. I really do. Money talks, and the fact of the matter was that the cakes just weren't selling the way management thought they would.
They have decided to carry KIND bars instead. I like KIND bars. My kids love them. We buy them in bulk at Costco, and munch on one a few times a week. KIND bars are jam-packed with nuts, which cracks me up that a huge corporation like Starbucks doesn't see the irony of cutting one allergen out by replacing it with another.
What I don't get is where Starbuck is getting their market research. The cake, quite honestly, tasted off. It tasted like there were chemicals in there (I think because of the high moisture content, it had a lot of oil, which tends to taste rancid when in a packaged baked product), and the overly sweet orange-zest flavor was a turn-off. I also don't understand why they'd put almonds on there, or decided to ditch the cake for a granola-type bar instead of a better pastry product.
When you meet friends, colleagues, or clients for coffee, and they all can munch on a bagel or a slice of apple coffee cake, it's a bit weird to sit with a granola bar. A granola bar you probably carry around in your purse anyhow.
A simple twitter search for "gluten free starbucks" or "gfree starbucks" shows how annoyed and upset consumers are. We weren't asked. We weren't consulted. And in this day and age of consumer consultants at your fingertips, I find this lack of regard insulting.
Starbucks, ASK US. WE WILL TELL YOU WHAT WE WANT. It is NOT HARD AT ALL to make a super tasty vegan and allergen-free brownie or coffee cake. That will keep the gluten-free as well as a whole slew of other people happy. If you're worried the new product won't sell fast enough, keep a stock in the freezer, with a little sign in the bakery counter window alerting us to ask the barista to pull one for us. We all have a stocked freezer of safe products, why can't you?
Please take the time to fill out this simple petition started by Triumph Dining Cards to bring a Gluten-Free pastry option back to Starbucks. If you have additional allergies/intolerances, type them in the comments. You will need to click on an automatic email response to activate your "signature."
Thank you so much for your help and support.
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