- By Annabelle Liang
- Business Correspondent
Starbucks, the world’s largest coffee chain, says it will launch olive oil-infused drinks in Italy.
Chief executive Howard Schultz says the olive oil’s “unexpected, velvety, buttery flavor … enhances the coffee and lingers beautifully on the palate.”
Starbucks was one of the major American businesses that faced obstacles when it tried to expand into the Italian food and beverage market.
Italy’s coffee scene is famous for its independent and often family-run cafes.
Starbucks currently has around 20 stores in the country.
“In over 40 years, I can’t remember a moment when I was more excited and more excited,” he added.
The company plans to bring a selection of hot and cold beverages to stores in Southern California, USA this spring. The UK, Middle East and Japan are set to follow later this year.
The Oleato range, which launches in Italy on Wednesday, includes a latte “steamed in oat milk” with cold-shaken espresso and olive oil.
There will also be a cold brew coffee, with a “silky infusion of Partna Extra Virgin Oil with vanilla sweet cream foam…slowly falling through the drink”.
Olive oil is an important part of the Mediterranean diet associated with countries including Italy, Greece and Spain.
Its health benefits can be attributed to its monounsaturated fatty acids, which contain vitamins and minerals, and polyphenols, which are plant-derived micronutrients.
The term “drink olive oil” gained popularity on the video-sharing site TikTok last year, with proponents claiming it has anti-inflammatory properties.
At the time, Mr Schultz said: “We’re not here to teach the Italians how to make coffee. We’re here to show what we’ve learned with humility and respect.”
Since launching pizza in 2015, the fast-food giant has struggled to attract customers in its birthplace.
It faced increasingly stiff competition during the pandemic as local restaurants signed up to food delivery platforms such as Deliveroo and JustEat.
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