Veggie salads coming soon to Starbucks?

by Melody on February 13, 2013

Do you want a salad at Starbucks? I wrote about the Starbucks Chicken Caesar Salad, and the Starbucks Cobb Salad in a previous blog article.  Right now, about 100 Starbucks stores across the U.S. are participating in a little test of Starbucks salad bowls.  I’m not sure if all the stores have all the varieties of them, but I discovered the one store here in Seattle that  has them.  I dropped by and bought a Roasted Veggie Salad Bowl, which comes with a lemon tahini dressing.

My veggie salad had broccoli, squash, kale, roasted beets, and some wild rice in it.  The dressing was fantastic, and complemented it nicely.  At first the dressing was a little bit thick, but it doesn’t take too much work to spread it.

Before I talk more about this salad, I should say that I bought it to try it, and this is not the kind of thing that I would normally buy.  I’m not a huge fan of beets.  And while I like a little kale, I don’t have any desire to overdose on it.  I do genuinely like broccoli and squash, and I think those who crave healthy veggie offerings at Starbucks will love this salad.  I’ll be totally honest: I dream of cheeseburgers and pizza.

Here’s what my salad looked like after it was well tossed:

These veggie salads reminded me  a lot of some of the food offerings at Evolution Fresh.  (Click here for my previous Evolution Fresh articles.)  In fact, the lemon tahini dressing was almost identical to one that I’ve had before on an Evolution Fresh kale salad.  I think it would be fascinating to feature the two salads side by side.  I took a few more pictures while I was in the store, so you can see there was a second veggie salad bowl available also.

By the way, I noticed that the packaging on these salads has a very finished appearance.  It would suggest to me that these salads are selling well enough for Starbucks to invest in final retail-ready packaging.  Who knows?  Maybe we’ll see these salads this upcoming summer?  As I always say though, trying to predict what Starbucks will launch nationwide is a pretty risky game!

What do you think?

Edit on 2-13-2013: In the comments, one person has mentioned that these salads are coming to Starbucks in June this year!  I hope so.  That would make sense as salads are traditionally a summer item.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Devin February 13, 2013 at 12:36 am

While I’m not the greatest fans of salads, I am glad that Starbucks is taking a step to diversify its food offerings to appeal to a larger customer base. I hope that the salads are able to be rolled out to a larger market.

Eric February 13, 2013 at 1:26 am

I wonder, are the salads actually… healthy? Starbucks does seem to have a bad habit of making unhealthy food: 27g of fat in the egg salad sandwich, 12g of fat in the greek yogurt, 950mg of sodium in the Chicken Santa Fe panini, etc. The salads also appear to be rather large in volume; I wonder if that might pose a problem. Will stores be able to fit one or two (much less a variety) in their refrigerated cases?

Terry February 13, 2013 at 4:56 am

I adore this launching and hope my store is one of the lucky 100. The health benefits of kale, squash, and beets are off the charts and one can always use less dressing if that’s the “calorie culprit.” I’d definitely buy, try, and recommend them to my customers. We have lots of health-conscious customers in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area. :)

DadCooks February 13, 2013 at 5:47 am

Melody I hate to be picky, but Starbucks needs to be clearer that this sort of item will only be available at “fresh” stores (less than half of total USA stores).

In a large metropolitan area like I live in (albeit “remote” in Starbucks short vision) , there is no reason that Starbucks could not have a commissary here to produce and distribute fresh products. Starbucks is missing a lot of sales.

Melody February 13, 2013 at 5:53 am

@DadCooks – Yep, you bring up the valid point that these too would likely be “fresh market” Starbucks stores only – about 4,500. Who knows, maybe no salads are coming. This blog mentioned four salads (2 veggie, 2 non veggie) and my guess is that some combination of these will make it to final launch. I wonder if the idea of having your local businesses assemble the salads eats up the profit margin, And then there would be the issue of the packaging.

http://www.starbucksmelody.com/2013/01/18/caesar-and-cobb-salads-spotted-in-california/

It’s all guesswork by me. Maybe none of the salads will make it to final launch.

purple1 February 13, 2013 at 6:21 am

If this salad comes by me, all I can say is YEA! I do hope that it is not overloaded with fat as per Eric’s comments. I love the ingredients in the salad you highlighted. I have to read the link Melody but what do you mean by fresh market Starbucks stores?

purple1 February 13, 2013 at 6:24 am

Realized after rereading the link which one it was. Just curious do you really think Melody that these salads might not make it to final launch? Is it because you fear those of us that are vegetarians are too small of a minority that the profit margin will be not significant enough for SB to launch this new item? If that is the case, I would be sad.

Melody February 13, 2013 at 6:29 am

@Purple1 – Salads aren’t usually loaded up with fat – unless you add a bunch of salad dressing and cheese. You can see, this is an incredibly green salad: Kale, beets, broccoli, squash, rice … no doubt, it’ll be the healthiest thing inside a Starbucks.

The thing of it is, Starbucks has “remote” markets, and “fresh” markets. Largely it relates to how close a store is to a Starbucks distribution center. There are only 4,500 “fresh” Starbucks stores.

As to the final launch, I would expect the salads with highest profit margin to make, and the ones that sold the best: Chicken Caesar is likely to make it. And possibly one of the two veggie salads.

Salads are usually a summer item – Maybe they’re gearing up for a summer salad promo. Of course, for all I know, they won’t make it all OR the recipes will be drastically different.

Remember when the petite treats were in testing they looked absolutely delicious, and now they don’t really exist!

http://www.starbucksmelody.com/2010/10/07/the-mini-test-starbucks-a-small-food-test-in-arizona-beginning-10510/

^ There is no doubt, I would love to see THOSE petites come to Starbucks. The test versions looked way better than what really launched (though I miss the two mini cupcakes – they were so good!)

denise r February 13, 2013 at 7:23 am

I realize that any salad, if in one’s area, would be possibly liked by quite a few people. Personally, I love many salads but am a little ‘squeemish’ about ones that have sitting around for any length of time.
Personally, I usually go to Sbux for coffee, or some espresso drink, and possibly a pastry or bagel, not so much the sandwiches or salads. But, that’s just me….

Nick Nelson February 13, 2013 at 11:02 am

Heard from the local store that they would be making their way there by June – this stores in Tacoma (not too far from Seattle) but it sure sounds like it’s a near-final-product if that store is confidently saying they heard they are on the way too.

Do they have any nutrition or ingredient lists on them? I live paleo, so salads are hugely appealing to me if they aren’t loaded with cheese and dressing.

Chika February 13, 2013 at 12:13 pm
Chika February 13, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Oops. Didn’t mean to make almost my entire comment a link. The link was supposed to show the address to the Evolution Fresh Menu. Sorry!

nathalya February 13, 2013 at 1:24 pm

I love the idea of having the salad option! what store did you buy it from in Seattle? I want to go there and try them out!

Hayley February 14, 2013 at 8:41 am

Options are always good! I’m glad that they are including choices that aren’t typically found. I’ll be excited to try these when they launch :) I love Caesar salads, so I hope that’s an option hey bring….though I know it’s certainly not a healthy salad.

calwatch February 14, 2013 at 11:55 pm

The salads are not a good value in terms of price, though. I can get a similar salad at Fresh and Easy or any Anglo supermarket for $5, or one of the ethnic markets for $4, and it will be just as fresh. Starbucks is charging $7 for them. Look I understand that people pay $4 for a latte, so why am I complaining, but at least the latte took human time to prepare on demand, whereas the salad is sitting in a refrigerated case after being packed in some warehouse somewhere. It’s a great high value option for redeeming My Starbucks Rewards, but Starbucks is really going to have to do some deals to move these salads, especially later in the day.

Lady mary February 15, 2013 at 12:20 pm

The more salads for me the better!!

Kristen March 1, 2013 at 7:57 pm

@nathalya I know that they are available at the Metropolitan Park Starbucks location in downtown Seattle (at Minor/Howell, http://www.starbucks.com/store/16711/)

Kari March 4, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Chicago, Millennium Station (local rail stop in the heart of the Loop): I saw this salad (in a square “bowl”) and snatched it up. Mine also had peas and brown rice and red cabbage. It was fantastic and took about 20 minutes to eat, once the thick dressing—a little intimidating at first—was thoroughly tossed. It was fantastic and, though I don’t remember the calorie count I know I would have checked and wouldn’t have bought and consumed it if it had been alarming. I’m also not a fan of beets. I’ve been Googling this topic for days trying to track down the dressing. I’ve also swung by two car-centric Chicago Starbucks looking for it, only to be told it “isn’t on their ordering list.” This confirms that it’s a test. Hope it makes it to the next stage.

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