Opinion: Stop charging me more for non-dairy options

Evelyn Krupicka, Staff Writer

The other day, I had a free drink reward at Dunkin’ Donuts. I was excited to go all-in with customizing my drink. Every single add-in, including extra shots of espresso, was free with the drink. However, changing out dairy milk for non-dairy milk was an extra 50 cents. Why is this?

For starters, almond milk costs more for chains than other milk options such as whole milk, skim milk or cream. It is understandable that they would have to charge extra in order to make up for the loss of profit. However, places like Starbucks consider changing to almond milk a customization, hence the 80 cent charge. 

There are many diets that prevent people from drinking dairy milk. People with lactose intolerance such as myself drink non-dairy milk to avoid upset stomachs or other symptoms that occur from consuming dairy products. About 68% of the world’s population has some form of lactose intolerance, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Although I could just suck it up and deal with a stomach ache for a day, there are other people with dairy allergies who have to actively avoid dairy products. 

The loudest outcries on this topic, however, come from vegans. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has been particularly active in this issue. One person tagged PETA in a Twitter post, saying “it’s a crime that @Starbucks charges 60 cents extra for soy milk”. Others have also been asking for non-dairy milk to be free and to charge extra for dairy milk. I support the idea that non-dairy milk should not cost so much, though I think it is a little outrageous to call such upcharge a crime or to wish that the standard dairy milk should cost extra. While I believe that veganism is a perfectly respectable lifestyle choice, it is less moderate posts such as these that send us backwards. 

Many people are opposed to the surcharge for non-dairy milk. I understand the upcharge, especially with small businesses that already don’t make a lot. I would prefer to be able to enjoy my almond milk for free. However, I would be perfectly fine with paying $0.20 for non-dairy milk. But almost a full dollar? No way.