Is the oat milk well already running dry? Not quite, but Starbucks is experiencing a shortage of the milk alternative, just a month after it launched the ingredient in its cafés nationwide.
Back in December, the coffee chain announced that it would be offering Oatly oat milk in all stores starting Spring 2021, and many customers were understandably stoked. After all, the milk alternative surged in popularity after Starbucks began offering it in 1,300 Midwest stores in January 2020. Six months later, in June, the company expanded its oat milk reach to a total 3,500 stores.
Flash forward to March 2021, and Starbucks launched oat milk nationwide and unveiled several new oat milk drinks on its spring menu, including the Honey Oatmilk Latte and the Brown Sugar Oatmilk Iced Shaken Espresso. But just a few weeks later, some customers began reporting an oat milk shortage at their local Starbucks.
Soon enough, the word spread and oat milk devotees weren't happy about the prospect of taking their coffee without the beloved milk alternative.
Some folks speculated that it might take up to a month before the supply was refreshed, and they were deeply disappointed.
Others simply couldn't understand why Starbucks was running low on oat milk when some shoppers had recently spotted it at other stores.
When reached by TODAY Food, a Starbucks representative declined to offer a timeline for when stores will be fully stocked with oat milk once again, as did a representative for Oatly, but emphasized that the shortage is temporary.
"Customers’ response to the national launch of oatmilk at Starbucks has been positive. As more customers return to our stores, some customers may experience a temporary shortage of oatmilk at their store. We apologize for any inconvenience to the customer experience and recommend trying soymilk, almondmilk or coconutmilk. Customers will have oatmilk available in their store soon," the Starbucks spokesperson shared in an emailed statement.
The oat milk shortage is simply the latest supply chain shortage to hit the food industry and comes after the ingredient's steady rise in popularity over the past year. According to Nielsen data, U.S. oat milk sales grew 138% in that time period.