Following backlash from vegans and frappuccino fans, Starbucks announced on its website Thursday that it will be ‘transitioning’ away from using bug dyes in its strawberry drinks.
Drinks like the Strawberries & Crème Frappuccino and Strawberry Banana Smoothie, as well as some of the bakery treats, contain cochineal extract, which comes from grinding up dried cochineal bugs.
The dye is FDA-approved and has been used for hundreds of years.
The company will make the switch to lycopene, a tomato-based extract.
“After a thorough, yet fastidious, evaluation, I am pleased to report that we are reformulating the affected products to assure the highest quality possible,” wrote Cliff Burrows, president of Starbucks U.S. on the company blog.
ABC News reported in March that Starbucks revealed the use of the cochineal dye after vegans had asked the company how many of the drinks were animal-free.
Other groups have had problems with the use of the bug-produced dye. The World Health Organization found that the dye has caused allergic reactions and cases of asthma in some people.
ABC News reported on Thursday that customers were reacting positively to the change.
One commenter wrote, “it is encouraging and very respectable to see that Starbucks values their customers.”
Another customer thanked the company for being “one of the very FEW socially responsible companies I am aware of.”