Why Starbucks Is Emphasizing Its On-The-Go Food Options

Americans are increasing the amount of money they spend annually on food, and with so many people feeling the pressure of balancing work, family life, and hobbies, they often turn to convenient options. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Expenditure 2021 Consumer Expenditures Report, Americans spent 13.4% more on food in 2021 than in 2020. The subcategory with the most significant growth, perhaps unsurprisingly, was money spent on food outside of the home, which increased by 27.6%. 

Understanding the need for a quick snack to go with a handcrafted beverage, Starbucks has offered baked goods and breakfast sandwiches for years. Even as it has introduced new food options, the international coffee business still gets most of its revenue from its beverages. According to 2021 data from Statista, its drinks generated $18.32 billion in revenue, compared to $5.05 billion for its food products. Recognizing the growing demand for convenient foods, the Seattle-based company announced a new partnership with DoorDash, in addition to an existing collaboration with Uber Eats, reports QSR Magazine. They've also made plans to make grabbing food from their stores more convenient.

More easy-to-eat foods

As it plans for the future, offering foods that people want to order for their on-the-go meals or snacks is a focus of Starbucks' leadership. According to Food Business News, Starbucks Chief Marketing Officer Brady Brewer said two out of five customers buy food when they place orders at the coffee shop today — a number that was half of that not too long ago. As food is a growing part of their business, they analyzed what options best meet their customers' needs. The conclusion? Foods that can be eaten with one hand (Food Business News).

One of the biggest food successes has been Starbucks' breakfast sandwiches, which Brewer said have increased 19% in sales year-over-year. Expanded food options that are being considered include salads, plant-based items, and items with eggs. The emphasis will be on fresh and healthy when the new food menu options are introduced.

The rollout of new food could come as Starbucks also introduces a new rewards system and operational upgrades as it continues to seek ways to grow.