Starbucks ‘Chocolatey’ Chips Can’t Legally Be Called ‘Chocolate’

By Mike Pomranz |

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Not all chocolate is created equal. Some isn’t even chocolate at all; it’s more chocolate-ish. Or, as Starbucks calls it, “chocolatey.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but you should know there’s a distinct difference between the two.

The recent interest in reasserting the difference between “chocolate” and “chocolatey” started earlier this week when Starbucks introduced three new Valentine’s Day drinks: a Molten Chocolate Trio as they call it. As you read through the descriptions, something interesting pops out: The beverages don’t include “chocolate chips” but instead “chocolatey chips.”

Turns out this isn’t just someone at the Starbucks PR team being cute. As Consumerist points out, the FDA actually has specific standards for what can and cannot be called “chocolate,” and due to the nature of the chips Starbucks uses in these drinks, though they may taste “chocolatey,” they are, in fact, not legally chocolate according to the FDA.

But why? Is Starbucks trying to save a buck by cheating us out of pure chocolate goodness? Not exactly, said a Starbucks rep. It has to do with how the drinks are prepared. “This is the best recipe for ease of melting in our Molten Chocolate handcrafted beverages and blending into Frappuccino Blended Beverages,” the rep told Consumerist. Indeed, in the Molten Chocolate Trio product descriptions, all the “chocolatey chips” are described as being either “melted” or “blended” into the beverage. I guess these are like the Velveeta of chocolate chips.

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