June 2, 2009 / 8:16 PM / 11 years ago

Starbucks to introduce salads, rework baked goods

* Starbucks reworking 90 percent of its baked goods

* Will introduce new items on June 30

* New items are salads, double-chocolate cookies/brownies

* Company testing reformulated Frappuccinos

By Lisa Baertlein

LOS ANGELES, June 2 (Reuters) - Starbucks Corp (SBUX.O), which has been working to improve its food, on June 30 is removing high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors and dyes from its baked goods and introducing salads and other new items.

“Food has been the Achilles’ heel of the company ... That statement will be long buried after we launch this program,” Michelle Gass, Starbucks’ executive vice president of marketing, told Reuters on Tuesday.

The ingredient changes, which also include removing preservatives where possible, will affect about 90 percent of the baked goods Starbucks sells and are part of the company’s ongoing efforts to appeal to increasingly health-conscious consumers amid a tough recession that has damped spending on little luxuries like lattes.

The new campaign — which will be promoted with the tag “Real Food. Simply Delicious” — follows last year’s health and wellness push that added food like oatmeal, smoothies and a protein plate to Starbucks’ repertoire. [ID: nN02486397]

Oatmeal since has become the company’s top-selling food item. [ID: nN23427076]

In 2007, Starbucks removed artificial trans fat from its food, changed its default milk used in beverages like lattes to 2 percent from whole milk and limited to 500 the number of calories in its food items. The company also uses hormone-free milk.

Reworked baked goods that will debut at month-end include Banana Walnut Bread, which is made from 11 ingredients — a number closer to home-made, a reduced fat Very Berry Coffee Cake that is 20 percent fruit, and an organic blueberry bar that was previously available only in the Pacific Northwest and a handful of other markets.

More indulgent treats include reformulated oatmeal cookies as well as double chocolate cookies and brownies.

A new Strawberry Vivanno will be added to the menu, which will also include low-calorie salads and breakfast sandwiches made with egg whites.

Further, this summer in Dallas, the company is testing a Frappuccino formula that Gass says mirrors what the company is doing with food.

Shares in Starbucks ended down 10 cents at $14.82 on the Nasdaq. (Reporting by Lisa Baertlein; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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