Starbucks coffee grounds help farmers create fresh foods for cafe menu

Robert Stockdill

Robert Stockdill

Starbucks stores in Japan are repurposing waste coffee grounds into compost and animal feed for farmers who supply foods back to the stores. 

Under the company’s Recycling Loop program, 28 farmers repurpose used coffee from stores in Kanto and Kansai to help produce vegetables, green tea, and milk, which is incorporated into signature beverages in the cafes, such as lattes. A new menu range will highlight those products to customers. 

Starbucks coffee grounds help farmers create fresh foods for cafe menu
Japanese farmers participating in Starbucks’ Recycling Loop program.

“We set ambitious goals to become a resource-positive company, and we continue to explore innovative ways to bring our partners and communities together around the shared desire to protect the planet,” said John Culver, group president, international, channel development and global coffee, tea & cocoa. “Launching a new closed-loop menu is another way to give our customers in Japan more options to enjoy lower-impact and locally-sourced ingredients as part of their Starbucks Experience.”

There are three new menu items on the Loop menu: 

  • Matcha Cream Bar, a blondie cake bar featuring matcha green tea powder, paired perfectly with luxurious white chocolate.
Starbucks coffee grounds help farmers create fresh foods for cafe menu
Starbucks Japan’s Matcha Cream Bar.
  • Root Vegetable Chicken Salad Wrap, which has been given a green twist with matcha powder kneaded into the tortilla dough to create a wrap featuring carrots, lettuce, and chicken.
  • Whole Carrot Cake, a limited-edition five-inch whole carrot cake available exclusively online from June 23. Starbucks describes it as “a fragrant combination of carrot, fruit, and spices, topped with creamy frosting and a generous sprinkle of nuts”.
Starbucks coffee grounds help farmers create fresh foods for cafe menu
Whole carrot cake made with ingredients from Starbucks’ closed loop program in Japan.

Starbucks launched a recycling program with farmers across South Korea in 2015, which produces a range of packaged food items that it sells in its stores. The company also runs the Grounds for Your Garden program across various markets around the world including the US and Indonesia, providing customers with used coffee grounds from stores to use as garden fertiliser.

Robert Stockdill

Robert Stockdill

Robert Stockdill is a content writer with more than 30 years of experience in five countries. His style has built upon award-winning success in news and features in the print media to leadership in digital communication, spanning news websites, social media, magazines, brochures, and contributing to books. Recognising the devastating impact of consumer behaviour on the planet and wanting to help make a difference Robert launched Viable.Earth as a platform to celebrate positive contributions by brands, companies and individuals towards reducing environmental impact and improve sustainability – especially in the fields of fashion, beauty, food, lifestyle, and transportation.

1 comment

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    It’s amazing that Japanese Starbucks’ goal is to become a resource-positive company and continue to explore innovative ways to bring their partners and communities together around a shared desire to protect the planet. This is very impressive.

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