Protesters Standing in Cement Blocks Call for Starbucks to 'End the Vegan Upcharge'


The movement to end Starbucks’ non-dairy “upcharge” has engaged in new tactics in Nashville, Tennessee.

On Thursday, protesters who oppose Starbucks’ decision to charge higher prices for plant-based drinks planted themselves outside of a cafe in Nashville while standing in boots in concrete blocks.

The demonstrators waved signs that read, “STARBUCKS: END THE VEGAN UPCHARGE.”

According to local NBC News affiliate WSMV, three people were cited while one was arrested amid the protest, to which over a dozen police cars responded.

Wendell Johnson, who observed the protest, told WSMV, “Man, this was entertainment.”

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“Within seconds they stopped the whole Starbucks. They just shut it down. No one could come in, no one could come out,” Johnson added.

Counter-protesters reportedly showed up, with one telling the outlet, “Listen, there’s nothing better than regular milk…At the end of the day, people are going to drink milk, people are going to eat milk, and there’s nothing they can do about it.”

Tricia Lebkuecher, of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), told WSMV, “Starbucks claims they are about sustainability.”

“Yet, it still charges customers up to 90 cents extra for non-dairy milks,” she continued. “And by Starbucks’ report, their use of dairy is their largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.”

Starbucks said in a statement, “We respect our customers’ rights to respectfully voice their opinions so long as it does not disrupt our store operations. In regards to alternative miles; customers can customize any beverage on the menu with a non-dairy milk, including soymilk, coconutmilk, almondmilk, and oatmilk for an additional cost (similar to other beverage customizations such as an additional espresso shot or syrup).”

“Pricing varies market by market. Adding a splash of any alt-milk to Brewed Coffee, Iced Coffee, Cold Brew and Americano beverages is offered free of charge,” it added.

This is not the first time a protester has targeted the coffee chain over its non-dairy prices.

Actor James Cromwell superglued his hand to a counter in at a Starbucks location in May, as IJR reported.

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“Starbucks claims that it wants to be more sustainable, but it discourages customers from choosing sustainable products,” Cromwell said.

He asked, “Will you stop charging more for vegan milk?”

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