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Caribou is changing their coffee and it will benefit everyone

(NEWS) Popular coffee company makes more strides to become a clean label standard.


Double shot of arsenic, please

While a caramel Frappuccino, double shots of espresso, light whip cream with chocolate drizzle makes the coffee addict in me abnormally excited. An ethoxyquin Frappuccino, with ammonia and potassium bisulfate doesn’t, which are the actual ingredients behind a deceivingly delicious caramel Frappuccino.


Ethoxyquin, ammonia and potassium bisulfate are just a few of the artificial ingredients included in a lot of popular coffee recipes, but that Caribou Coffee are working to eliminate for their new “clean label standard”.

A decade in the making

According to the Caribou website, efforts for cleaner coffee first began in 2004 when they built a Kosher and organic manufacturing facility. In 2007, they announced all of their coffee beans come from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms and began sourcing dairy products that have no added hormones.

Last year the company started reformulating and testing products without the long list of artificial ingredients and began using real ingredients like vanilla, monk fruit extract and real pumpkin.

Today, Caribou continues to eliminate more than 70 ingredients including artificial colors, flavors, lard, high fructose corn syrup and MSG to achieve a completely “clean label”, without sacrificing taste.

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Cost of coffee

Jenifer Hagness, senior director of product innovation told the Minneapolis Star Tribune, ““We looked at every single ingredient going into our beverages to make sure it tastes like what they are supposed to taste like.”

Maintaining taste with higher quality ingredients, means an inevitable increase in cost for Caribou.

But Hagness assures consumers, “There is definitely a higher cost associated [with the ingredients], but we are doing as much as we can internally right now to stay cost neutral apart from inflation,”

America is cleaning up

Although their clean efforts are a super-stride in the right direction for healthier options, Caribou isn’t the first company to go for a more “clean” approach.

Dunkin’ Donuts has recently vowed to eliminate artificial colors.

Coffee isn’t the only industry going au-natural. Walmart has committed to selling only cage-free eggs by 2025 and Papa Johns will only use chicken raised without antibiotics.

Vote with your dollars

This influx in supply of cleaner options is a testament of the demand from consumers want cleaner options: we want to understand what we are consuming.
[clickToTweet tweet=”By voting with our dollars, we inherently demand companies to improve their standards.” quote=” By controlling where we spend our money, and voting with our dollars, we inherently demand companies to improve their standards. “]

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It is also a testament to how powerful the consumer dollar is. If we want more transparent options, we must give our business to parallel thinking brands and motivate other companies to improve their standards too. What other companies do you know have utilized cleaner options for their consumers, restaurant or not?


Written By

Lauren Flanigan is a Staff Writer at The American Genius, hailing from the windy hills of Cincinnati, with a degree in Marketing from the University of Cincinnati. She has escaped the hills, and currently resides in Atlanta, where you can almost always find her camping at a Starbucks strategizing on how to take over the world.

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