Reading Time: 2 minutes Starbucks has come under fire for its vegan milk surcharges... Credit: Adobe. Do not use without permission.
Reading Time: 2 minutes

UK Coffee shops are under growing pressure to ditch surcharges on vegan milk

A slew of retailers, most notably Starbucks, charge customers extra when ordering a dairy-free alternative to cow’s milk.

Now, a new nationwide campaign aims to ‘help the industry develop sustainable solutions which can remove upcharges for good’.

Vegan milk surcharge

Free4DairyFree was launched by George Bloor and Nicole McCulloch. In a statement sent to PBN, Bloor said: “The campaign was born from a belief that removing charges for plant milk is fundamentally the right decision for everyone involved.

“The tide has already turned in favor of plant milk. It’s not a case of whether more people turn to them, it’s simply a case of when.” 

Free4DairyFree also provides a ‘fresh perspective on the environmental, health, societal and financial impacts of these charges’. It shows removing vegan milk surcharges can actually ‘increase long-term profitability’ rather than financially damage a company.

Moreover, the campaign provides recognition to retailers that have already removed charges in the form of the F4DF Charter.

‘A cost-effective pathway’

“Over time, we expect the F4DF Charter to become a statement and standard with which industry and consumers can recognize and resonate,” said McCulloch.

“The Delivery concept presents a cost-effective pathway for retailers with a higher cost base to become Free4DairyFree.”


The duo behind Free4DairyFree has also created a petition urging UK retailers to ditch their vegan milk surcharges.

“Current charges are generally inflated above real cost,” the petition reads. “Furthermore, when a consumer pays for plant milk, the current structure means you are subsidising the production of dairy milk. 

“The global industry standard is to wrap the cost of dairy milk into the retail price of hot drinks. Consider that the cost of an Americano is the same whether it is black or white. 

“There is, however, often an extra charge for plant milks but the cost of the dairy milk has not been removed. We ask industry to recognize this fact but more importantly, recognize that removing charges can actually improve their business’ performance.”

You can sign the petition urging UK retailers to end vegan milk surcharges here

Liam Giliver

Liam is the former Deputy Editor of Plant Based News. He has written for The Independent, Huffington Post, Attitude Magazine, and more. He is also the author of 'We're Worried About Him'.