| US

Caribou Coffee drops plant-based surcharge for loyalty members

The removal of additional charge for oat and almond milk will only apply to Caribou Perks members pre-ordering via the Caribou Coffee app

Caribou Coffee said its loyalty members are driving demand for plant-based alternatives | Photo credit: Caribou Coffee


Minnesota-based Caribou Coffee has announced that Caribou Perks members will no longer have to pay an additional charge for plant-based dairy alternatives when pre-ordering via the Caribou Coffee app. 

The coffee chain, which operates more than 470 stores across the US, said its loyalty members are driving demand for plant-based alternatives, with 20% of coffee beverages including either oat or almond dairy alternatives. 

Caribou Coffee has been offering all US customers complimentary non-dairy options for a limited period, which ends on 3 May 2023. The offer will then continue as a Caribou Perks exclusive for members who pre-order via the coffee chain’s app. 

“Caribou is committed to the pursuit of delivering delicious drinks as well as meaningful value to our team, guests and environment. Dairy-free and plant-based offerings are increasingly important to our guests and to our planet, which is why we are thrilled to announce that Caribou Perks loyalty programme members can now customise their beverages with non-dairy milk at no additional charge when they order in the Caribou app,” said Erin Newkirk, Chief Brand and Marketing Officer, Caribou Coffee. 

Caribou Coffee is part of the Panera Brands portfolio of hospitality brands, which also includes Panera Bread and Einstein Bros. Bagels. The JAB Holding Company business unit collectively operates more than 3,500 stores and employs approximately 110,000 staff across 11 countries. 

While Caribou Coffee’s surcharge drop will be welcomed, it is less far reaching than Panera Bread, which fully dropped its plant-based surcharge across 2,100 US stores in August 2022. 

Tim Hortons, Blue Bottle Coffee and Stumptown Coffee Roasters have also axed dairy-free surcharges, while Peet’s Coffee recently announced it would temporarily remove its $0.80 surcharge throughout April 2023. 

Despite dropping its surcharge in the UK, France and Germany, US market leader Starbucks charges up to $0.80 for almond, coconut, oat or soy dairy alternatives across its nearly 16,000 North American stores. 

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