Numbers Come To Starbucks

April 16, 2008

Because, I believe, of the New York law now requiring calorie information to be displayed by more establishments, we now have little signs on all the food at Starbucks indicating how many calories those delicious pastries actually have. I’ve always been roughly familiar with the content of the drinks, but the food varies so much from place to place that it’s really interesting to see it laid out like that.

The restaurants, of course, always resist this — they believe that it will cut into people’s desire to eat a muffin if they have to look down the barrel of how many calories it has. But my guess is that it will affect choices among pastries more than it will affect whether you buy one or not. When I looked at the case on a morning when I hadn’t gotten my act together enough for a real breakfast (tax time — don’t judge me!), it was really interesting to look and see that a blueberry muffin had a fairly manageable, breakfast-sized 320 calories, while a raspberry scone had a much more daunting 470. I think of both of those as “a treat with coffee,” and if one has 150 calories less than another, that’s good to be reminded of while I’m standing there. And look at the rustic apple tart, which is really quite tasty — only 190 calories, largely because by volume, it’s largely a sliced cooked apple.

I can’t say having a blueberry muffin every morning would be any kind of a good idea, but I was struck by the fact that standing there, it really was helpful to have those numbers staring at me, not for guilt reasons, but for what felt like very logical cost-benefit reasons, and in that moment, I was proud of myself a little.

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8 Responses to “Numbers Come To Starbucks”

  1. Nicole Says:

    Oh, but the raspberry scones are my favorite! Shoot.

    True, though, what you say.

  2. Suzy Says:

    I wish we had that law in Indiana …

  3. KiwiFee Says:

    Yep – I’m with you. Having calorie information available means I make better choices for me, not that I choose not to buy. It means I might have the thing I want but be aware that I have to make allowances for it later in the day, or that I choose the best option that I also like. Go information!

  4. golfnutbucket Says:

    I have this belief that my fellow man/woman knows in their heart of hearts what is good for them and what is bad. I think in the instance you cite, the calorie information at Starbucks may influence your decision. What I think is humorous is when I see places like McDonalds post this information. When I want to pig out on a doublecheeseburger and fries, I’m not even going to look at the board. I know the sandwich is a heart attack on a bun, no question, and the fries too. I’m not going to walk in, look at the calorie board and have it suddenly dawn on me that the side salad is so much fewer in calories than that large order of fries I was contemplating, you know what I mean? I’m not against the calorie information. I think anything like it is a step in the right direction. It’s just that at Mickey D’s, it makes me laugh.

  5. Libby Says:

    Point taken on McDonald’s, but I was surprised to learn recently (from a new, handy little book, “Eat This, Not That”) that an Egg McMuffin contains only 300 calories. In addition, a Quarter Pounder without cheese is also a reasonable amount. Chick-fila is the best fast food option with no sandwich over 500. While I realize that if the intent is to splurge, there would be no reason to be aware of this information, it’s nice to know that when I’m

  6. Libby Says:

    Have no idea why that cut off or how the emoticon got in there. I was saying that it’s nice to know that when I’m traveling and down to few options, I can make a “less impact” choice.

  7. hegellite Says:

    I wish that ALL restaurants were required to post nutritional information about every single menu item. I would want: calories, fat, saturated fat, and fiber. I can’t seem to stick with the careful counting method, but I try to guesstimate between 500-600 calories a meal. It’s hard with restaurants. Not only is each entree about 2-3 servings worth of food, but it’s so hard to get good options.

  8. esme Says:

    Speaking of nutritional information – have you all seen nutritiondata.com? I just came across it this afternoon and it’s sort of blowing my mind. Besides all the foods you’d expect, they’ve also got listings for a number of fast food restaurants, and they include all sorts of info like glycemic index and “fullness factor” in addition to the standard nutrition label. And there’s a daily needs calculator, too. Crazy.


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