Stop Charging More to Dairy-Free Customers at Coffee Shops

Target: David Hoffmann, CEO, Dunkin’ Brands

Goal: Stop charging more for dairy-free milk in Dunkin’ brand restaurants.

Dairy-free, or alternative milk, options are found in most foodservice establishments where milk is the prominent ingredient in foods and drinks. Coffee shops, vegan restaurants, and spots simply offering options to those who are lactose intolerant have a range of milk derived from plants. Such options you likely have seen are soy, almond, rice, and oat. Though these have been available to some degree for over half a century, a cultural move away from dairy has allowed businesses to capitalize off those getting on the dairy-free train.

Coffee shops, for one, have noticed the trend and are cashing in. From twenty-five cents to a dollar or more, a splash of non-dairy milk can greatly boost the price tag on your daily latte. People are readily eating – or drinking – the extra cost, especially in the Generation Z demographic where many are kicking cow milk for ethical, health, or environmental reasons. This has not come without blowback on businesses, however, with arguments the consumer should not be penalized for dietary restrictions. Some in the market have been kind enough to respond by removing upcharges for plant-based milks. Dunkin’ has seemingly avoided recognizing consumer needs and continues to pass the minimal cost onto them.

The future of alternative milks is strong. With over 33% of consumers choosing this option weekly, it is clear the movement is now a standard. Food service retailers need to shift their business models to allow dairy-free options to coexist with the cow counterparts, and that includes Dunkin’. Sign the petition below to push the coffee chain towards discontinuing charging more for lactose-free milks.


Dear CEO Hoffmann,

It is very impressive how readily the Dunkin’ brand has embraced alternative milks; the first arrived as early as 2014! The shift has allowed millions of customers to continue enjoying Dunkin’ products despite dietary or lifestyle requirements that lead them away from dairy. Dairy-free options now being even more of a staple of your menu means customers should be able to order with confidence.  Streamlining this confidence should include knowing the price on the menu reflects what they will pay at the register without having to calculate additional fees.

It is time Dunkin’ stores make this a reality by removing upcharges for drinks including alternative milks. A large number of cafes and coffee shops have already made the choice to recognize the needs of all their consumers, some of which do not have the wholesale resources of national brand franchises like you. Many plant-based milks are now less expensive than cow milk, too. The rise in popularity of these products are closing the disparity in pricing between them and traditional milk.

Overall, allowing customers to opt into non-dairy milk without extra costs has many benefits to the Dunkin’ brand. It attracts customers who may go elsewhere for that soy cappuccino or splash of oat milk; as the prices drop, alternative milks may become a more cost-effective option for everyone; and with less cow milk being consumed, Dunkin’ can market itself as an advocate of animal rights.

Make the shift now and be an industry innovator. We urge you to streamline the removal of additional costs for alternative milks in your pricing.


[Your Name Here]

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One Comment

  1. If there was ever a situation to show as an example of corporations insurmountable greed … this is it!
    The reason for this so called inflation is not what we have been led to believe, it’s corporations taking advantage of consumers by hiding just under the radar to raise their prices only for their own stock increase and shareholders.
    We should all pick what corporations we support through our continued business. Most corporations are not worth our support.
    We would also be wise to watch the corporations donating to political parties with their dark money. These same corporations state they are supporting freedom but, again, under the radar, they are doing the exact opposite as they claim.Life here in America used to be understandable but now it all seems to be a scam. Can this be proved? Yes. It just takes a little research.

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