Starbucks vs. Costa – a dairy-free battle (Spoiler: Costa win)

Our daughter can’t have dairy. She’s not vegan – she’ll plough through her weight in spicy chicken wings or my weight in bacon rolls – but milk and milk products make ill. She’s only six so we try hard to make sure that she doesn’t get treated differently and still gets a choice of things to eat. Life’s hard enough without having a food complex. Most places this is fine – whether we’re at home or travelling we’ve found great food and lots of good choices for an adventurous young foodie. That is until we get to chain coffee shops.

The mini one’s swimming lessons happen near a Starbucks and last weekend we popped in for a rare post-swimming treat. I was disappointed to hear from the Starbucks staff that there’s not a single Starbucks sweet, cakey foodstuff of any kind which doesn’t contain dairy. The six-year-old wasn’t surprised and told me Costa was better (known from her elephant-like memory, not her frequent visits).

Here’s the breakdown of all dairy-free food available according to the current Christmas Starbucks allergen menu (available here):

  • Breakfast products
    • Luxury Fruit Toast
    • Soy porridge
    • Dried fruit mix
  • Snack bags
    • Almonds, Cashews, Cranberries & Raisins
    • Smoked Almonds
  • Impulse range
    • Raw Raspberry & Nut Bar
    • Peanut and Cashew Bar
    • Sugar-Free Peppermints
    • Sugar-Free Spearmints
    • Sugar-Free Gum
    • Sweeties
    • Dark Chocolate Bar

That list seems long but the store didn’t have the full Impulse range so didn’t have any cereal bars, it wasn’t breakfast time and a bag of nuts isn’t going to cut it when everyone else wants to eat a bit of cake.

Here’s Costa‘s menu (found here and here):

  • Christmas
    • Vegan Christmas Cake Slice
    • Gingerbread Biscuit (Jumper)
  • Blueberry Muffin
  • Impulse
    • Fruity Crumble
    • Chilli And Lime Mix
    • Fruit And Nut Mix
    • Dried Mango
    • Gingerbread Biscuit (Lion and Elephant)
    • Mini Pecan Pie
    • Mini Bakewell Tarts

Seven decent, kid-approved cakey choices from Costa vs. a big, round zero from Starbucks. The ball’s in your court Starbucks – how’s your 2017 spring menu going to look for six-year-old cake lovers?