Starbucks partners with agriculture ministry to boost consumption of local produce

Starbucks Korea signed a new partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to use more local produce for the global coffee chain’s beverage and food menu, the company said on Monday.

At the company’s headquarters in central Seoul on the same day, Starbucks Korea agreed to develop new products using local ingredients. The company also pledged to donate used ground coffee beans collected from its network of stores to local farms to use as fertilizer. The measures reflect the mega franchise’s latest initiative to support the domestic vegetable and fruit producers for mutual growth.

The ministry agreed to share information with Starbucks Korea about natural produce from around the country to help the coffee chain procure quality ingredients.

The signing will help some local farms expand revenue chains by selling large quantities of produce to the company that runs over 1,840 stores in the country as of this year, according to the ministry. The authority added that the company will be supplied with government-certified natural produce through safe channels.

The company said it has already agreed with the ministry to use locally produced rice powder as a signature ingredient for its new beverage to be introduced within the first half of next year.

“I encourge our customers to experience our new beverages and foods made from our own natural produce,” said Starbucks Korea CEO Sohn Jeong-hyun who joined the signing. “We will start promoting our mutual story with our local farms through our new items to come.”

The Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Chung Hwang-keun, who was Sohn’s counterpart at the event, said he found the signing “very meaningful, as a global corporate like Starbucks has pledged to invest as a robust supporter of the country’s agricultural industry.”

“I urge more companies in the country to take the same steps to invest in our quality local produce including rice power,” he said.

MIDM Agricultural Union Corp. President Chun Dae-kyung and operators of Starbucks stores were also present at the event.

The company has already launched some 30 products that use local produce including a frappuccino using malcha from Jeju Island, a fizzio with magnolia vines from Mungyeong, lattes with sweet pumpkins from Ochang and chestnuts from Gongju, a rice chip based on Pyeongtaek rice and a tea based on citrons cultivated in Goheung.

Source: Korea Times

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