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Tuesday, June 29, 2004

The shoe that fits one
person pinches another;
there is no recipe for living
that suits all cases.
~~Carl Gustav Jung~~

Starbucks to Roll Out Lower-Cal Frappuccino Light
Tue 29 June, 2004 18:25

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Starbucks Corp. on Monday said it would roll out a line of blended coffee drinks intended to tap into the growing popularity of reduced-calorie and reduced-fat menu choices for Americans.

The Seattle-based company, which operates the world's largest coffee chain, said that its new line of "Frappuccino Light" beverages would go on sale at all of its 6,010 stores the United States and Canada on Wednesday.

Starbucks has been working to develop a light version of its popular blended beverages for the past two years and had test marketed the new offering in Sacramento, California earlier this year, a spokeswoman said.

The diet-friendly product roll-out comes as other major U.S. restaurant chains and food companies come to grips with the continuing popularity of low-carb and other diets in response to the recognition of a growing obesity problem in America.

Starbucks cited consumer research saying that 42 percent of Americans say they are reducing the fat in their diet.

The new light Starbucks beverages, which substitute Splenda, a non-calorie sweetener, for some of the sugar in the original versions, feature about 30 percent to 40 percent fewer calories, the company said.

For instance, a 12-ounce Mocha Frappuccino Light would have 140 calories and 1.5 grams of fat compared with 220 calories and 3 grams of fat in the original, said Starbucks spokeswoman Jenny Walsh. That comparison excludes whipped cream.

In addition to a promotion campaign that will feature billboard and other kinds of advertising, Starbucks will be offering North American customers at all of its stores on Wednesday a chance to sample the Frappuccino light beverages, it said.

Analysts have credited Starbucks introduction of new products, including new twists on its Frappuccinos, with driving increasing traffic to its stores and reaching out to a wider range of customers.

Starbucks is not alone among major U.S. companies trying to reach calorie-counting customers on the go. McDonald's Corp has credited the introduction its "Go Active! Happy Meal," featuring a bottle of water and a pedometer, in part for better recent sales.

Coca-Cola Co. this month has also rolled out a soft-drink with half the calories and carbohydrates of the original Coke and an ad campaign targeting followers of trendy Atkins-style diets.

And in a sign of the risks to companies seen out of step with the times, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc. last month blamed the low-carb diet craze as it posted its first net loss since going public four years ago.

Shares in Starbucks closed up 7 cents to $43.27 on Monday and have gained about 30 percent since the start of the year.

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