Starbucks modifies its single-use cold cups to be more adaptable

Starbucks redesigns its single-use cold cups
Starbucks redesigns its single-use cold cups / Starbucks

While many people might have their favorite reusable cup, Starbucks single-use cold cups are a large part of the brand’s business. As the company looks to reduce its carbon, water, and waste footprints, new changes take a step forward towards those goals while adding a layer of adaptable for its partners.

Although no one wants to think about the mountain of trash that the new Spicy Lemonade Refreshers can create, the reality of any quick service restaurant is that single use plastic is part of the business. In many scenarios, it is not feasible for companies to use or allow guests to bring their own drinking vessel.

While people can argue the benefits of reusable vessels and containers, the reality is that single-use plastic is not going to disappear completely, immediately. But, companies can make strides in changing the product to make it better.

The new Starbucks single-use cold cups are taking strides in two arenas. First, the cup is made with 10-20% less material. Although the cup’s heft is still apparent, it is the overall design that people will notice first.

Starbucks redesigned cups
Starbucks redesigned cups / Starbucks

First, the profile is wider in only the Tall cup. Although this appearance might give the allusion of more liquid in the cup, it is the same 12 ounces in a Tall Cup. But, people might feel like they are getting more. Sometimes perception matters.

In addition, the Tall Cup has a wider mouth. Although Starbucks has not revealed why this change is imperative, some people might prefer it. Again, this type of large scale change is not done lightly. There must be some strong feedback on consumers wanting a wider mouth. Again, only the Tall Cup has a change to the wider mouth and profile.

While consumers will appreciate the cup changes while sipping on their favorite beverage, other alternations took the Starbucks partners into consideration. For example, the lids on all the cups are now interchangeable. This change reflects the need for efficiency behind the bar. No one should have to stumble through lids when the line is out the door.

Additionally, the cups are more clearly marked to enhance measuring visibility. From bolder lines to raised dots, these changes are a benefit to partners with low vision. Sometimes those little changes can make the brand’s partners feel more included in the conversation. Making employees feel valued is vital in the hospitality industry.

Overall, Starbucks’ changes to the single-use cup might not seem like as exciting as a new beverage launch, but it is vital to the brand. Connecting with customers on issues that matter to them creates brand loyalty. When people are spending hard earned money on a refreshing beverage, they want to align with a company that holds similar values. Reducing plastic and waste as well as caring for their employees are two issues that continue to matter to consumers.

The redesigned Starbucks single-use cold cups will start to roll out in U.S. and Canada stores this month. A complete rollout will happen over the next year.