Open Letter to Starbucks
Could you send some lifeboats?
I love having coffee, an occasional sugar free light treat, working, and people watching at your stores. In full disclosure, I am a recovering “fat guy” or TheFatGuy, as I say.
This morning I witnessed several parents giving their kids sweet treats as breakfast! I know this is their choice but it is hard to watch with the obesity epidemic I am oh so much a part of in this country. I was offered a “healthy version” of your new Frap, The Midnight Mocha Madness. When I took a sip of the sample, I asked what made this shot ‘healthy’? “Oh, it doesn’t have whip!” was the explanation I received. Ummm, I think not!
Yesterday I saw a first grader I know with his grandmother in Starbucks. This first grader happens to be a Type 1 Diabetic. His grandmother explained what she went through to come up with a healthy, no carb version of a treat for her very special grandson. She had goosebumps just talking about it. She had done an amazing job researching and putting together a concoction that turned out to be quite good and shake like! BUT, she had to be extremely specific and watchful as the treat was assembled to make sure there were no added carbs.
I don’t tell you this to demonize your company or place blame on you for the obesity epidemic in our country. There is a lot of blame to go around. I made bad choices when I weighed 360 pounds that got me to that weight and kept me there. I used to drink 2 to 3 venti mochas a day! That is about 900 to 1350 calories a day with 90 to 135 grams of sugar. I made that choice and I am responsible for the 360 pounds I carried.
I also know you market what people buy. You would not have all of the, let’s say sugary crap, available unless people were buying it! I get it. When I am standing in line behind children with mother’s and father’s in the morning at Starbucks all of the ‘sweet treats’ are eye level with the little darlings in line! HMMM, I wonder what they will ask for?! It does not take a marketing department to answer this question.
I’ll admit, it is kind of odd working in Starbucks and writing about Starbucks, but I am sure you will be fine with this feedback and my thoughts. You have a huge R & D team (200 plus according to your website) that works on developing your food and beverage items. I know you have sugar free this and light that for choices. I know you promote yourself as a responsible company, offering Kale chips, etc.
Knowing all of this and watching the choices being made by our youth, I was wondering if maybe you could invest some major dollars in a “Healthy Campaign” targeted at young people! Reach out to schools, promote healthy choices to kids, impact the next generation in a truly positive and healthy way. I’ll bet the profits would see a short term and long term boost!
Maybe take the dollars you use to promote drinks like the Unicorn Frap (76 grams of sugar in a Venti) and invest some in a healthy campaign. Have a contest where people come up with healthy drink ideas. Invite the grandmother and mom of the young Type 1 Diabetic I know to give their input. Maybe you will even help turn around the epidemic of Type 2 Diabetics. Just my thoughts.
As you can tell, I am quite passionate about bringing attention to our obesity epidemic and the health issues it creates for so many people in our country. Roughly one third of our country is obese with two thirds being overweight. As I said earlier, I know people make choices, I made bad choices. Now I make good choices!!
I am 61 and as healthy as I have ever been in my life! I am 150 pounds lighter, fit, off of 7 medications, and have ditched my CPAP machine! That is the short version of my change. I want everyone to experience the type of health and wellness I have attained. Could you help me? Could you be a little more of the solution and a little less of the problem? Could you make a difference now and in the future? What a statement you could make if you were able to impact the lives of young people in way that improved the lives, health, and wellness of an entire generation!
I know all companies have some sort of look toward healthier choices. Some are giving it lip service, some are marketing healthy that is not so healthy, and some are ‘trying’ to make a difference. But, I know that marketing departments are looking at marketing to the two thirds of the population that is overweight already. It does not take a genius to know companies are in business to make money!
The obesity epidemic is like the Titanic. We have not only hit the iceberg, we are hitting it repeatedly and sinking very fast. Could you and some of the other leading companies in our country send some lifeboats to save some of the children!?
Note to ME and YOU: It is going to take more than a village to combat the obesity epidemic.