There’s more to the Starbucks Frappuccino mini

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By Rachel Chinchilla

We’re all familiar with the sight of hundreds of students walking across the Quad, half of which seem to be holding quad espressos, salted caramel mochas, green tea Frappuccinos or chocolate smoothies. Many times, Starbucks is the source of these drinks, especially since the addition of the second campus store located in the Illini Union Bookstore.

Starbucks offers an enormous selection of drinks to satisfy almost any craving one could have. And now they’ve stepped up their game. 

Introducing: the Frappuccino mini. The Frappuccino mini comes in a 10 ounce serving size available for a variety of the Frappuccinos on the menu. It costs approximately 30 cents less than the next largest 12 ounce size.

Starbucks has started testing this new endeavor in certain stores in Denver, Colo. and Houston, Texas. If sales are satisfactory, Starbucks plans to offer this size in other stores as well.

At first, this might sound great. The Frappuccino mini would be perfect for when you’re feeling like you can’t down the whole 12 ounces of the current smallest size, the tall. (Sometimes the last two ounces are just too much, according to some bloggers on the Internet.)

A smaller size would also mean fewer calories, obviously. So those of us on a diet or trying to eat healthier could enjoy Starbucks without feeling overly guilty about indulging ourselves in a yummy Frappuccino.

The Frappuccino mini has given others a similar thought: “It’s OK to help myself to one of these because it’s a smaller size and has fewer calories.” This is the attitude of many Starbucks-loving bloggers, who have expressed their sentiments on Starbucks Melody, an unofficial news and information site for the coffee chain, and other locations online.

The idea itself is not an unhealthy thought to have. Every once in a great while, an intake of high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors and caffeine is a splendid treat with few negative health effects. 

However, this thought might do more harm than good in the long run, and the bloggers and Starbucks customers who think otherwise are misguided.

The Frappuccino mini may inadvertently cause customers with this mind set to overlook the fact that Frappuccinos are still indulgent. When you’re craving something sweet, it’s easier to say no to a bowl of ice cream than it is to a Hershey’s Kiss — and obviously healthier.

Although the Frappuccino mini does provides satisfaction to a craving in a better way than do the tall, grande or venti sizes, the fact that the Frappuccino mini is still not a healthy drink to ingest should not be discounted. 

Feeling guilty about indulging yourself in unhealthy products is a good thing. What you put into your body affects your mental, emotional and physical health. Guilt is an uncomfortable and unpleasant emotion to experience, and, because of that, it forces us to reflect on the cause of those feelings.

In terms of consumption, guilt encourages us to be more aware of the substances that we are putting into our bodies. And this awareness enables us to make healthier choices in the future. 

Like I said, some customers might buy the Frappuccino mini and overlook its unhealthiness. According to some comments on blogs about the product, it’s already happening. Without thinking about the unhealthiness, how many customers will feel guilty about indulging themselves? The absence of guilt makes for an easier trip back to Starbucks for another splurge.

Overall, the Frappuccino mini is nothing to get excited about. The idea that people may think that this drink is a healthy choice is wrong.

Of course, regular Starbucks customers will come back to the store regardless of the presence of guilt. For them, there is no arguing that downgrading to the mini is a healthier choice to make. 

Obviously, it is healthier than other size options at Starbucks. But that fact only distracts us from the bigger picture: In no way are Starbucks Frappuccinos a healthy choice.

Rachel is a junior in LAS. She can be reached at [email protected]