Starbucks' Cold Bevs, A Hit With Gen Z, May Be Mixed Blessing

Starbucks’ iced drinks have been a hit for the company. In Starbucks’ most-recent earnings call earlier this month, Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ founder and CEO, said cold beverages accounted for 75% of the company’s beverage sales for the quarter. Schultz said that the drinks were a Gen Z favorite, with young customers posting images of the drinks on their social media feeds.

The drinks are notable for withstanding the current economic slowdown. While McDonald’s and other food companies have reported that their customers were slowing down or trading down, Starbucks’ Gen Z customers didn’t show any signs of reducing their intake, the company said.

But a federal lawsuit may give some Gen Z-ers pause. Joan Kominis, a resident of Queens, N.Y., filed a lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan arguing that Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade, Strawberry Acai Lemonade and Pineapple Passionfruit Lemonade don’t contain mango, passion fruit or acai.



Instead, the drinks are “predominantly made with water, grape juice concentrate and sugar,” according to the complaint, which is seeking class-action status. Starbucks did include freeze-dried pieces of strawberries, pineapple and dragonfruit, “furthering the deceptive nature of Starbucks’ advertising,” according to the suit.

A Starbucks spokewoman told The New York Post that “the allegations are inaccurate and without merit. We look forward to defending ourselves against these claims.”

Starbucks introduced Refreshers in 2012. Starbucks also had a line of energy drink beverages sold under that name, but they have been discontinued.

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