Starbucks adds olive oil coffee drinks to woo Italy customers

World’s biggest coffee-shop operator has struggled to win over Italians

Starbucks's flagship Italian outlet in Milan. The US coffee giant has struggled to gain a foothold among coffee-loving Italians.

Starbucks, the world’s biggest coffee-shop operator, has launched a range of olive oil-infused beverages in Italy to boost market share in a country where it has struggled to gain a foothold.

The chain will initially sell its new Oleato coffee line, which includes a drink featuring olive oil steamed with oat milk, in Italy only. It then plans to launch the coffees in the US, Japan, the Middle East and the UK later this year, the Seattle-based company said in a blog post.

Olive oil, a key part of the Mediterranean diet, has been widely hailed for its health benefits.

Starbucks opened its first outlet in Italy in 2018, and has focused on central locations in the country’s major cities. While the stores have attracted business from tourists, most Italians still prefer to sip their espressos at the thousands of smaller, family-owned coffee bars across the country.


Irish jewellery designer Chupi: 'The divorce ring is a whole new category'

Listen | 39:04

Chupi Sweetman is the Irish jewellery designer on a mission to disrupt the diamond industry. The founder and CEO of her eponymous brand has just secured €3.75m in investment to fuel her global ambitions. She speaks about industry trends, removing Russian diamonds from her supply chain and how blockchain will help secure the provenance of her heirloom jewellery. Also in this episode, Barry O'Halloran reports on the yawning gap between what multinationals are paying for energy compared to domestic Irish businesses.

Howard Schultz, who has twice come out of retirement to lead the chain he founded, is driving a turnaround of the brand. The founder, who began Starbucks after his own travels in Italy, said when the chain launched in the country that it was not coming to teach Italians how to make coffee.

In the US, Starbucks is rolling out innovations created at its research centre to speed up service and make the jobs of its baristas easier, adding speedier blenders and faster brewing systems.

Laxman Narasimhan, former chief executive officer of UK-based Reckitt Benckiser, will take over as the company’s new CEO in April, although Mr Schultz will retain a place on the board. – Bloomberg