Although Starbucks has been undergoing widely-publicised problems, closing stores and laying off staff in other countries, it has also been working on creating new drinks which it hopes will do well in the summer months.
Vivanno Nourishing Blend is promoted as a waistline-conscious smoothie, available in two flavours and rated at around 280 calories and under 5g of fat in one drink.
Starbucks' top man, Howard Schultz, has said that three-fifths of his customers had said they would come to Starbucks to buy healthy, nutritious beverages.
There are two flavours, orange, mango and banana or banana with chocolate. The drinks are promoted as contributing protein, fibre and one serving of fruit. Each is made with one whole banana, juice, whey protein and fibre powder, the customer's choice of choice of milk, and ice.
Although the American promotion of the drinks has said they rate under 280 calories, the company's UK information rates the banana beverage at 181 calories and the mango drink at 157 calories.
A shot of espresso can be added to the Banana Chocolate Blend.
Vivanno Nourishing Blends will be available throughout the UK from 23rd July 2008, priced at £3.25.
Meanwhile, Starbucks in the US has adopted the little plastic stoppers which plug the sip-hole in takeaway cups, and which can be customised with promotional signs.
It calls the item a ‘splash stick', and claims that the idea came through a suggestion on its website - but it is Stix-to-Go, invented by Tom Burns, whose UK distributor Beyond the Bean has been quick to point out that it has already made the product available to British caterers.
By Ian Boughton