Last week, Starbucks, Evolution Fresh, and Dannon rolled out a line of three yogurt-and juice-based smoothies.
The launch comes on the heels of a pilot smoothie program, which Starbucks debuted last summer in a couple cities. It was so successful that the smoothies are debuting on menus in Northern California, Oregon, Washington, and at select Starbucks shops inside grocery and Target stores.
So can a mass-produced, made-to-order green smoothie be truly healthy? Here’s what you need to know before you swap them for your morning Venti.
The ingredients. There are three flavors: Sweet Greens, Strawberry, and Mango Carrot. They’re made from a mixture of a cold-pressed, non-organic, HPP juices that are nearly identical to the Evolution blends on the shelves at Starbucks, and a non-fat (also non organic), strained Greek yogurt from Dannon. And while the juices might not be pressed with fruits and veggies right in front of you, you can opt to throw a handful of fresh kale into the blender as they whip them up.
Nutrition facts. The smoothies range from 170–230 calories. Each one has 7 grams of protein, a few grams of fiber, and quite a bit of sugar (30 grams or more) from the yogurt and fruit juice.
“The idea of blending green juices with yogurt isn’t a bad one in itself, because you get protein along with nutrients,” says nutritionist Ariane Hundt, M.S. “But it would have been smarter to offer green drinks with a scoop of protein powder instead,” she says, since the yogurt adds sugar. There are comparable amounts of sugar in the green smoothies and a tall Frappuccino coffee drink.
How they taste. Sweet Greens is a gateway flavor into the world of sippable veggies. Because it and the other blends are quite sweet, they’re probably for the Frappuccino buyer. You can’t beat the price—at $5.49 for a grande, they’re half the cost of some green juices. But if you’re already sipping spirulina, chard, and turmeric, you’re probably beyond these options.
The parfaits will debut this May in 6,000 Starbucks locations nationwide. Come July, you’ll also see Evolution Fresh and Dannon-branded yogurts in your local grocery store. —Molly Gallagher
For more information, visit www.starbucks.com