Starbucks’ new 31-ounce cup reflects unnutritious consumption habits in the United States.
Come March, Starbucks will begin serving its 31-ounce cup: Trenta.
Coffee might not be the equivalent of a super-sized Kit Kat bar, but the new Starbucks size reflects the sad reality of our culture’s focus on living “larger than life,” by having expensive things and enjoying things, such as food and beverages, in excess.
It’s amazing that U.S. citizens are told to fight obesity, yet a new 31-ounce cup full of empty calories comes to fruition around the same time Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign is well underway. The talk of fighting against obesity in the U.S. appears to be just that – talk.
“For a long time, people bought Starbucks because it made them look better,” said Bryant Simon, the director of the American studies department and author of “Everything but the Coffee: Learning about America from Starbucks.” “You pay a little bit of money and get some status. You look like someone who has money to make you look better.”
Starbucks has become a little more mainstream, with its coffee shops scattered throughout major cities. It has lost its novelty status and has become a franchise that is more expensive than Dunkin’ Donuts.
Starbucks is catering to the “Super Size Me” culture that has gripped the U.S. and refuses to let go. It’s present on Main Campus, too.
Although there is a healthy-balanced option and salad bar on Main Campus, they are outweighed by Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Wingstop and food trucks that are easily accessible through a swipe of an Owl Card. This is troubling for Temple students trying to maintain a healthy diet.
This popular trend of fighting obesity is seen in TV shows, such as MTV’s “I Used to be Fat” and NBC’s “The Biggest Loser.” This fight is fought half-heartedly if you’re adding skim milk to an iced coffee to lower the calorie count but pairing it with a brownie or coffee cake.
For some, this oversized cup is good because it’s something that can last the whole day. For others, the new addition to our super-size culture is undesirable.
During midterms, finals and regular all-nighters, Temple students frequent the Starbucks located in the TECH Center. This new cup will give students the extra-caffeinated boost needed to get through those cram sessions.
The sweet treats, sandwiches and soups also give Starbucks a competitive edge over its rivals as it fights to remain a No. 1 choice.
“Sometimes we buy things like Starbucks as a little treat. We try to make ourselves feel better so we buy something a little bit more expensive as a way to reward ourselves for studying, basically managing our moods,” Simon said. “Trenta offers a kind of greater indulgence. After we indulge in a Venti coffee for a number of times it loses its thrill. Now Starbucks is providing a Trenta to reawaken the thrill.”
As we strive toward a leaner, healthier U.S., it appears new outlets of unhealthy living continue to sprout up. McDonald’s has its different specials, such as its 20-piece chicken nuggets for $1.99. Now there’s Trenta, which experts estimate could have up to 300 milligrams of caffeine.
Overindulgence and excess is an American pastime that is innately a part of our culture that we don’t realize how it has negatively affected us. And if we fail to recognize this, we’ll never change.
Alexandra Olivier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.