Ariana Grande’s Starbucks drink isn’t vegan and vegans are mad

Ariana Grande posted the tweet above to celebrate her collaboration with Starbucks, a Cloud Macchiato (puppies cost extra). This makes perfect sense. When you have “Grande” in your name, the licensing sells itself, right? Plus a Cloud Macchiato sounds very light and airy… or Ari, if you will. In order to make a Cloud Macchiato, one needs ‘cloud powder’ of course. Among the ingredients for the caramel version of the drink are milk, egg white powder, butter and heavy cream. Tasty, but decidedly not vegan. This is relevant because in 2013, Ariana declared she was committing to a vegan lifestyle. As Starbucks baristas have pointed out, even the non-caramel, soy version still has egg whites because they are what make the cloud powder fluffy. Substituting the cloud powder makes it a regularl ol’ Macchiato. So Vegans are out of luck on this fellow-vegan endorsed drink and they aren’t happy.

Some Ariana Grande fans fell from cloud nine after realizing her Starbucks drink was not vegan-friendly.

Last week, the singer announced her partnership as the latest Starbucks ambassador with a new beverage, the Cloud Macchiato. It is made with espresso and vanilla-flavored syrup, and topped with foam and a drizzle of caramel. Grande — who proclaimed in a 2013 interview with The Mirror that she was following a vegan diet because “I love animals more than I love most people” — encouraged fans to “#trythesoyversion” without seemingly realizing that milk was not the only animal by-product used to make it.

The “cloud powder” added to the foam in the drink contains egg white powder, giving it a fluffy texture. The caramel drizzle also contains milk products. Without both, the drink is essentially a regular Macchiato.

Many fans of the “Thank U, Next” artist have expressed their disappointment on social media, while others are defending Grande, saying she might not be vegan any longer.

[From People]

Of course, Ariana is not obligated to only represent vegan-approved merchandise. But I’m leaning towards Team Hypocritical on this one. Especially since Ariana made a point of explaining that it’s her love for animals that led to her choice. So she loves them so, so much – just not enough to turn down an endorsement deal. It’s likely that she had no idea what the ingredients were and slapped her name on it. But ignorance isn’t an excuse to make money. There are people defending Ariana by pointing out she hasn’t discussed veganism in some time so maybe she isn’t vegan anymore. This could be, but either she or her rep should mention that. They’ll need to say something soon, before the Vegan Cloud Posse comes for them.




Photo credit: Twitter, Instagram and WENN Photos

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52 Responses to “Ariana Grande’s Starbucks drink isn’t vegan and vegans are mad”

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  1. Jessica says:

    This is why you don’t label yourself.

    • kim says:

      yup. As soon as you label yourself, the social media world tries to make you feel bad about yourself if you want to make a change. When i was younger we didnt do labels or put ourselves in boxes. We were more limitless than young people are today.

      • jay says:

        It’s so ridiculous. It’s like trial and error and plain old personal exploration just aren’t allowed anymore. And kim you’re so right; the labelling did seem to start with social media didn’t it? Over time it became more and more popular/normal to “declare” yourself to be this or that to your followers (for clickbait, views, seo, etc. whatever reason). And then, thanks to the rigidity of the online world, you can never change.

    • shura says:

      This is why you don’t look to HW for commitment and principles.

  2. Millenial says:

    I commend the vegans for being vegan, but tick them off and the Vegan Police will come for you. I joined a few vegan/plant-based recipe groups on FB a while ago, to get some ideas for Meatless Mondays, and had to quit it because the people were *so* mean (not to me directly, but to others).

    I honestly kinda feel bad for her here.

    • babsjohnson says:

      I’m on a plant based diet and I love Marco Borges’cookbook. Lots of quick, simple and cheap recipes and no one to yell at you 😉

      • Millenial says:

        Ooh, that’s a good tip! I’ll look into it for sure. I’ve got Isa Does It and that’s been good, but I feel like there’s too many recipes that try to replicate meat foods. I’d rather just eat meatless foods that are meant to be meatless, like Chana Masala.

      • paranormalgirl says:

        The New Moosewood Cookbook is a good vegetarian based cookbook. The chocolate cake recipe is vegan and my go to for cakes.

    • Vuhdanessa says:

      (If you’re looking for vegetarian options, check out She’s not preachy and the food photography is stunning, and I’ve had outstanding luck with the recipes)

    • jessamine says:

      Shout out to any/all of the Ottolenghi cookbooks if you’re looking for meatless deliciousness … Plenty and its sequel are completely veggie but all of his books are majority vegetarian (out of tastiness and tradition more than ideology.)

    • Ann says:

      Vegan forums are not friendly places in my experience. I remember asking a question on reddit and I phrased it as going on a “vegan stint,” which is what I do sometimes, go vegan for a few weeks to months, and apparently that is deeply offensive to full-time vegans. Like I’m appropriating veganism? All I wanted was recommendations for vegan coffee creamer but got met with hostility so I left the sub.

    • Janie says:

      I know a few people who are “ethically vegan”. They don’t eat any meat but will consume certain animal products if no animals were killed or harmed by the company that makes them. For instance, they might wear a wool coat if the sheep aren’t harmed or killed by the people who produce the wool. Or they might eat eggs from a backyard hatchery that cares for their chickens even when the chickens stop producing eggs. Etc.

      Seems a lot more feasible than going full vegan (no animal products whatsoever). It’s definitely feasible for a lot of people with health concerns who aren’t able to practice traditional veganism.

  3. Lizzie says:

    here’s an idea…if you’re vegan…don’t order it

  4. Sassbr says:

    The cloud powder is okay but the drinks themselves are too calorific and sweet. She wouldn’t even be drinking these herself. I got someone at Starbucks to make me a sugar-free version with just the coffee, milk, and the cloud foam. It was okay-tastes like meringue, because of the egg whites. I think it’s a bit of a fail in that it’s not totally distinguishable from the regular milk cold foam (which is genius work. Cold foam cappuccinos are amazing.) If they cut the sweetness out and did a little more to make the egg foam powder ‘stiff’ so it sits better on the coffee, it would be much better. Right now, most of the baristas aren’t whipping the powder well enough to get it going and the drink takes a very long time to make, even without all the topping and syrups.

    • paranormalgirl says:

      I do the cloud foam macchiato with sugar free cinnamon dolce and vanilla syrups and light caramel drizzle for a way lower sugar version. It’s good. I love the foam is left at the end.

      • Sassbr says:

        I tried it at 5 different Starbucks in about three days, and hot and cold versions, and I would say it’s a pretty good idea but the barista HAS to be dedicated to getting it to foam up and make the drink. One version has all foam, nearly no coffee, two had basically liquid foam (not cloud like,) I would say most of them did not include enough coffee. I had it executed well maybe twice out of the maybe like 9 I’ve had. I think they should make the cloud foam a regular option for any of the foam based drinks, like cappuccino.

    • Babadook says:

      I am loving this indept Starbucks analysis! I’m also a fan of the cold foam.

    • MissyLynne says:

      I tried it too. It’s disappointing. I’m not sure what I was hoping for but it was not that. It was 85% foam that was pretty tasteless and not really like a meringue at all and the small amount of coffee was like sugar water. Oh well back to my plain latte/ flat white lol

    • Erinn says:

      I live somewhere without a starbucks. I actually think the closest one is 3 hours away. Whenever we hit the city, we make a starbucks pilgrimage but it’s 100% us going in there for something awful for us haha. We pretty much always get a frappe. I bought a tumbler last time I was there to have at my desk. So to us – we KNOW most of it is insanely sugary and over the top – and it’s just a treat for us. When I want coffee I’m 9/10 times getting a black, iced, americano from our local coffee shop.

      I am VERY intrigued by this cloud stuff. I’ve never had it, or anything like it, honestly. I like meringue a lot, so I think this is something I may have to try. My all time favorite cake is one my grandmother makes – amazing homemade chocolate, but the real star of the show is the “seafoam frosting”. It’s egg whites, brown sugar, vanilla (maybe water or something else, I forget) whipped up into peaks and placed on the cake. This stuff is to DIE for.

    • SK says:

      Ugh I’m sorry but none of this is coffee. I do not understand this North American urge to add sugar and cream and other random crap to coffee and pretend it is still coffee when it is now some mangled dessert. Why not try making decent coffee to start with and then you might not need to add all of this sugary, calorie-laden crap to it? Go to a country with a good coffee tradition like Italy, the Middle East, and my own country australia (we are all obsessed and have super high quality coffee here, properly made – Starbucks was pretty much a bust here). In the Middle East you get beautiful coffee brewed with spices. In Italy you get the classics: espresso, macchiato, latte, cappuccino. Here in Australia we have all of the Italian classics plus a flat white, a short black and a long black. Good quality beans and a great method of making the coffee with a good barista who is properly trained. None of this cr*p that Starbucks is selling you. Drip coffee is mostly cr*p. You guys are missing out! (Said with exasperated love)

    • Betsy says:

      I’m still pissed at Starbucks for their idiot exCEO. I can’t bring myself to get anything there.

  5. Lynnie says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if she quit being vegan. The only thing she seems committed to is that high ponytail

    • Veronica says:

      Honestly, it’s a diet that can be kind of a pain to maintain if you travel frequently. I travel for my job and have enough trouble swinging healthy meals daily that also respect my GI restrictions. If I had to take out animal products, it would be a whole other world of agita.

  6. Craptastic says:

    I doubt she is still vegan. I’m sure those doughnuts she licked had animal products in them.

  7. JadedBrit says:

    Starbucks *could* use aquafaba powder to replicate the egg whites.

  8. Adrien says:

    I’m going to make a vegan version and call it Ralph Macchiato. It will please both vegans and GenXers. Take that, Ari.

  9. Chloe says:

    When I read the title, I wasn’t even going to read it, because I’ve been vegan for 10 years and get super sick of people arguing about it, so figured the comments would be gruesome. But legit, they are just pointing out she she herself said she was vegan… that’s why people are commenting about it. 🙄 GEEZ

  10. IE says:

    I know it will probably be a stupid question, but what will happen with all the animals if everyone is going vegan?

    • Zip says:

      All the animals who are currently being bred to be killed for food will just not exist anymore because there is no point in breeding them. Which is a good thing if you think of all the resources (grain, water etc) it needs to feed them which are lost for humans and basically wasted. The remaining animals would die of natural causes at some point.
      But don’t worry about that because it will never happen anyway. Humans are too focused on themselves and their own “needs” to even reduce their meat consumption on a larger scale. Some individuals do but the vast majority will not change.

      • Rosyquartz says:

        Zip, as you know grains/veggies are less caloric-dense than meats, so once the animals die off we have to deforest more land, use more chemicals (even organic treatments are not great), and destroy additional ecosystems to grow enough food to feed people.

        When you plow and treat amd destroy the massive amount of land needed for vegan food you destroy animals’ homes, destroy their natural food sources, kill natural trees and plants, and poison the land.

        Please don’t say being vegan is better for the environment or all animals!

      • Veronica S. says:

        A large part of the problem is resource allocation, to be honest. Eating healthy on a vegan diet can be harder for people in lower income categories because fresh food doesn’t store as long, and you can’t afford to be picky when you have to purchase for calories. It gets more troubling if you have dietary restrictions – for instance, I had to give up being vegetarian because I developed a GI disorder that made most typical vegan protein substitutes indigestible.

      • Erinn says:

        That kind of makes me sad, honestly. I mean – hey, it’d be better for the planet. But I love cows. Like they’re just so sweet. I showed Holsteins as a kid and I had one that followed me around like a puppy and would shove the other cows to get to me. It was from a small dairy operation, and she was treated very well. I know not all cows are anywhere near as lucky though.

    • Mrs.Krabapple says:

      The animals that exist solely to feed humans (cows, farmed pigs, farmed chickens) will be slaughtered (nobody will pay to raise them for no reason) and they will die off. Some animals that exist in the wild (like fish, wild poultry, etc.) will continue to exist, while others will go extinct simply because we don’t care about the damage we are doing to them.

      Long-term, humans need B-12 and other nutrients that you cannot get from plants. Once health begins to decline on a mass scale, people will return to eating meat. They will start with animals that still exist in the wild, and end up farming different strains, and the cycle would continue again.

  11. Zip says:

    Pointing put the hypocrisy of labeling yourself vegan but promoting and selling non-vegan stuff is not reprehensible.

  12. smee says:

    Sounds insanely caloric – drink it now while you’re still young!

  13. CES says:

    I love animals, but I’m not a vegan. Does one have to be a vegan to prove they love animals?

    • CairinaCat says:

      I can’t eat a lot of meat, but I eat a ton of cheese and yogurt.
      I can’t process B12 in supplement form
      So I have to get it in meat if I can. I try to eat high impact foods like liver a couple times a month
      I’m constantly fighting B12 anemia and ferrous iron anemia
      I’d die if I went vegan, literally, but I mostly eat vegetarian because I have a horrible time digesting most meats.
      Like, I eat chicken, fish, most beef, some pork and 30 minutes later I’m vomiting uncontrollably. Fun fun

      But sometimes I can keep down liver, some ground meat. I have to eat cheese, yogurt, egg products.
      I eat a lot of beans
      A lot of the protein rich alt foods I can’t keep down either.
      But some of us have to eat meat because we can’t get enough of the nutrition we need any other way

      So all the militant vegans I keep running into that get in my face about my diet, can suck it

    • Lua says:

      No. You can love animals and still not be vegan. My issue with vegans is their holier than thou attitude. The constant need to post things that belittle anyone that doesn’t follow their lifestyle is annoying. Attacking anyone who doesn’t follow their lifestyle is annoying. I don’t post random stuff on their feeds about why they are bad for not eating what I eat. Why are they so entitled and terrible? I don’t eat meat, I do eat dairy. I don’t crap on people who eat meat. Vegans are the worst. There are acceptions, I’m sure, but I’ve never met them. They’re also usually anti vaxxers in my personal experience as well.

  14. Shannon Malcom says:

    I don’t even like Ariana Grande that much. To me, she bugs. But I will absolutely give her a pass on this. That was six years ago, a lot can change in six years, and she’s not obligated to keep us all up-to-date on her dietary preferences. As long as she’s not licking donuts anymore, I’m fine with this.

  15. Lisa says:

    People’s diet change. You are not obligated to buy it.

  16. LunaSF says:

    I’m a long time vegan and this makes me roll my eyes. She never claimed to be the Vegan Messiah and tons of drinks can easily be made vegan at Starbucks. Most celebrities hop on the vegan train as part of a special diet or cleanse and declare they are vegan loud and proud and then quietly fall off. Who cares what celebrities claim to eat or drink? Doesn’t affect me or my diet one bit. I do wish they would promote a reusable cup though instead of just a reusable straw. I find it silly how people are so upset about the plastic straws but seem blind to the fact that the plastic cups use way more plastic and are basically impossible to properly recycle.

  17. Mrs.Krabapple says:

    Anyone who “cares” about animals shouldn’t be supporting Starbucks or other coffee producers that use Sumatran coffee, or any company that uses palm oil products. The coffee and palm oil industries are driving the Sumatran Tiger extinct, just as it did with the Javan Tiger. Palm oil is driving the orangutans extinct.

    But hey – Sumatran coffee tastes great, amirite?

  18. Ishqthecat says:

    Oat milk (barrista version that steams very well) is all the rage here in Sweden. It is amazing! Will lever go back to dairy or soy in my flat white. Hope it takes off internationally so you all can enjoy a foamy coffee too 🙂

  19. whybother says:

    Vegan is a ‘passionate’ bunch of people and Ari is dumb as rock
    That is all I have

  20. Justjj says:

    She wears me out. Between the cultural appropriation, the Jersey Shore spray tan, the exhausting cutesy-ing, the donut licking, the mile high ponytail that looks ridiculous in profile, and the vegan hypocrisy… I just find her annoying. The song ‘7 rings’ is catchy but it’s very problematic and so is the video. Her new album is not good. I don’t get it. And by the way, I wonder where she gets her extensions… many human hair extensions are obtained in horrific ways even if they claim it’s responsible. And synthetic hair leaves a huge footprint in parts of the world that are naturally diverse ecosystems.