A New Starbucks Lawsuit Claims Popular Refresher Drinks Are Missing One Key Ingredient: Fruit

published Aug 10, 2022
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Starbucks Pineapple Passionfruit Starbucks Refresher
Credit: Starbucks

You’ve probably seen ads for those colorful Starbucks Refreshers that look like everything you’d want in a cold summer drink, but a recent lawsuit about the sips may leave a sour taste in your mouth.

Joan Kominis, a Queens, New York resident, has filed a class action lawsuit claiming that several of the coffee chain’s drinks don’t actually contain the ingredients their names suggest.

“Despite their names, and unbeknownst to consumers, the Mango Dragonfruit and Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade Refreshers contain no mango, the Pineapple Passionfruit and Pineapple Passionfruit Lemonade Refreshers contain no passionfruit, and the Strawberry Acaí and Strawberry Acaí Lemonade Refreshers contain no acaí,” the lawsuit reads. “Further, all of the products are predominantly made with water, grape juice concentrate, and sugar.”

Both the Mango Dragonfruit and Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade Refreshers are said to be made with a Mango Dragonfruit Refreshers Base — which includes water, sugar, white grape juice concentrate, natural flavors, citric acid, green coffee flavor, and stevia. Mango, however, is not explicitly listed as an ingredient, though it could possibly be one of the “natural flavors.”

The ingredients lists for the Pineapple Passionfruit and Pineapple Passionfruit Lemonade Refreshers on the Starbucks website have freeze-dried pineapple in the ingredients list, but no mention of passionfruit. The Pineapple Passionfruit Refreshers base has similar ingredients to the Mango Dragonfruit one, with water, sugar, and white grape juice concentrate as the main ingredients. The Strawberry Acaí and Strawberry Acaí Lemonade Refreshers ingredient lists tell a similar story; freeze-dried strawberry pieces in the ingredients list, but no acaí explicitly listed.

Starbucks drinks aren’t cheap, and if Kominis’s claims are true it’s definitely misleading to name a drink after fruits that aren’t actually in it. According to the brand, however, there’s nothing to worry about. “The allegations in the complaint are inaccurate and without merit. We look forward to defending ourselves against these claims,” a Starbucks spokesperson told Kitchn via email. The suit was filed last week in Manhattan federal court.