SEATTLE — Starbucks is adding plant-based meat to its U.S. menu for the first time.
The Seattle-based coffee chain said Tuesday that a breakfast sandwich made with imitation sausage from Redwood City, California-based Impossible Foods is now available at a majority of its U.S. restaurants. The sandwich comes with egg and cheese and is served on a ciabatta bun.
Starbucks said earlier this year that it would add fake meat to its menus worldwide as part of an effort to reduce its environmental impact. The company has sold plant-based milk alternatives, such as soy milk and oat milk, in the U.S. and elsewhere. But the sausage is its first plant-based food item in the U.S.
In April, it began selling lasagna, pasta and wraps made with Beyond Meat crumbles in China. It also introduced a Beyond Meat breakfast sandwich in Canada in February. Beyond Meat, which is based in El Segundo, California, is Impossible Foods' chief competitor.
Asked why it went with an Impossible Foods sausage for the U.S. over one from Beyond Meat, Starbucks said it works with a variety of suppliers around the globe.
Starbucks is also planning to close up to 400 company-owned locations in the U.S over the next 18 months while accelerating a plan to build smaller, pickup-only locations in major cities.
The coffee giant was forced to close its stores to customers at the height of the coronavirus pandemic but continued to operate drive thru and pickup in many locations. The company said 95% of its 8,000 U.S. company-run stores are now open with varying levels of service, just slightly lower than operations globally.