The Seattle-based coffee chain says it will start posting calorie counts on menu boards nationwide next week, ahead of a federal regulation that would require it to do so.
Calorie counts on menus are already required in some parts of the country, including New York City.
But starting June 25, Starbucks Corp. says customers at its more than 11,000 U.S. locations will be able to see that there are 300 calories in a small caramel Frappuccino and 230 calories in a small Iced Caffe Mocha. Pastry cases will show calorie information, too.
The move comes as the Food and Drug Administration irons out the details of a regulation that would require companies with more than 20 locations to post calorie information on menus. Other chains including McDonald’s Corp. also are posting the information, saying they’re doing so to be more transparent rather than because they’re being forced to.
In its announcement, Starbucks notes that it already provides nutrition information on its Web site, through its iPhone app and with printed brochures in cafes. It also says there are many ways people can reduce the calories in their drinks, such as by asking for nonfat milk, sugar-free syrup or no whipped cream.
It’s not clear how posted calorie counts affect what people order.
A “large majority” of chains are waiting for the FDA to issue final guidelines before adding the information, said Sue Hensley, a spokeswoman for the National Restaurant Association. The group expects the regulation to take effect by sometime next year.