You may recall our post on the class action lawsuit brought against the trendy yogurt chain Pinkberry a few months back (Pinkberry's Unnatural Flavor Leaves a Sour Taste). Apparently additives like magnesium oxide and tocopherol that give Pinkberry its distinct sour taste didn't keep Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz from seeing a sweet deal in the company. After Schultz's venture capital firm invested $27.5 million in Pinkberry last year, he's bringing his investment home with a new line of "Pinkberry-inspired" drinks available at Starbucks.
The sippable frozen treats, called Sorbettos, are an Italian-style mix of ice and citrus-flavored Pinkberry yogurt finished with a variety of different mix-ins, including berry and mango juices. For now they're only being offered in about 40 percent of Los Angeles Starbucks stores as a test-run in the state that spawned smoothie giants like Jamba Juice and Juice It Up!. Cos La Porta, Starbucks' senior vice president, is hoping the new drinks ensnare some of Jamba Juice's clientele. So far, so good—our Los Angeles based spy reported there were lines around the corner at her local Starbucks on Melrose and Stanley Ave. for the $2.95, 10-ounce Sorbettos. La Porta is predicting the drinks will fulfill a need for an un-caffeinated afternoon pick-me-up. He told the Los Angeles Times: "This is what our customers have told us they want'¦.something refreshing in the afternoon."
Starbucks has been in the news of late after it announced plans to close 600 stores across the nation due to flailing finances. Are the new drinks a nice way for Howard Schultz to get some good press going about Starbucks? Either way, it gives new meaning to the rumors that his company is getting creamed.