Major US coffee chain, Peet's Coffee, adds vegan whipped cream to its menu

For the first time, vegan whipped cream will be a permanent option at a major US coffee chain. Talk about milestones, and tasty ones at that! Having only been offered as a seasonal alternative before, thanks to it’s popularity and demand Peet’s Coffee & Tea will be giving Whipped Coconut Cream an established place on their menu across all of their 236 stores.

The housemade treat, consisting of Koko coconut cream and cane sugar, can be substituted across all beverages for an extra cost of 35 cents.

The introduction of vegan coconut whipped cream shows that Peet's is thinking about the fastest growing dietary movement in the US.

The introduction of vegan coconut whipped cream shows that Peet's is thinking about the fastest growing dietary movement in the US.

According to a spokesperson, “it’s been a big hit so far, very popular” whilst Patrick Main, Senior Research & Development Manager of Peets, also reported “coconut has always been popular amongst our customers, so we’re thrilled to bring it back in a big way”. That makes two of us.

Who are Peet's Coffee?

The award-winning Peet’s Coffee & Tea is based in the San Francisco Bay Area, founded by Alfred Peet in 1966. It is recognised as one of the founding businesses in the gourmet coffee trade and Alfred Peet is often considered to have started the speciality coffee revolution in the US, designated the title of “the Dutchman who taught America how to drink coffee”.

As of May 2011, the market cap was approximately $636 million and was purchased in 2012 by the German investment firm JAB Holding for $974 million. They’re certainly popular, having developed a committed following who are referred to as the Peetniks, with The Speciality Coffee Association of America (SCAA) having also set up The Alfred Peet Passionate Cup Award in honour of Peet. Safe to say, then, the company has had a great deal of influence over its industry and is held in high esteem.

Other vegan options at Peet's Coffee

The whipped cream isn’t their first vegan option, with soy and almond milk having already been staple substitutes. As well as this they offer various vegan snacks including the vegan chocolate banana bread, Swedish dreams vegan cookie, vegan choc chip cookie, vegan ginger cookie, vegan blueberry oat bran muffin, low fat vegan apricot oatmeal scone and vegan oatmeal raisin cookie, with different options available at different stores.

As if this wasn’t enough, their 2016 summer Coffee Meets Coconut campaign consisted of 3 delicious sounding beverages, all of which could be made vegan! These included the Coconut Crème Latte, made with espresso, a milk substitute, coconut syrup and melted coconut cream; the Coconut Solstice Tea made with Summer Solstice Black Iced Tea, coconut syrup and milk substitute; and the Coconut Crème Javiva which is an ice blended drink using coffee, coconut syrup, milk substitute and coconut whipped cream. Unfortunately, these were only available until 30th August. However, it is how the Whipped Coconut Cream came about so we shouldn’t complain.

Peet's has dabbled in vegan specialty drinks before, and a whole host of vegan scones, puffins and pastries available.

Peet's has dabbled in vegan specialty drinks before, and a whole host of vegan scones, puffins and pastries available.

Peet’s claims that it is ‘committed to strategically growing its business and to maintaining a unique culture and focus on customer satisfaction’ and that certainly seems to be the case here. It is hardly surprising that the company have enjoyed some recent high profile support with members of the San Francisco giants, Javier López and Denard Span, enjoyed being honorary baristas for the day and Bernie Sanders getting caught picking up a coffee and scone for his Oval Office meeting with Obama. I hope it was veganised, Bernie!

Veganism growing among mainstream coffee chains

Peet’s are one of a number of cafes that currently offer vegan options, including Pret, Crussh, Itsu, Costa, Nero, Vital, Leon, Kaffeine and Yumchaa. Starbucks has also recently received praise for having added almond milk as a substitute on its menu and, given that Peet’s served as a model for Starbucks which began 5 years after in 1971, perhaps they will follow in Peet’s footsteps on the coconut cream front too? There is certainly a foundation of good reason given the growing interest in plant-based alternatives.

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