Starbucks company as well as other transnational companies has been severely criticized by various practices considering anti-ecological, as their inputs are mainly genetically engineered seeds that have contaminated soils from around the world allowing the survival of endemic seed, and to the detriment of the peasantry, which by this lower cost of genetically engineered seeds are provided with income below the company but with the added value increase it more often on the sale of their products in the free market.
Because of its vertical integration, diversification and success, Starbucks now has many competitors. With the coffee, the brand has helped democratize the specialty coffee said among American consumers. Starbucks acquired some competitors like Seattle’s Best Coffee or Pasqua Coffee, but many other brands have emerged in the meantime.
In the field of restoration, Starbucks also has to deal with regional chains like Peet’s or The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in the United States or Tim Hortons and Second Cup in Canada, but also indirect competitors such as Dunkin ‘Donuts, and More recently, Burger King and McDonald’s, which have repositioned themselves by offering specialty coffee and espresso drinks at competitive prices, often playing in a way more accessible and down-to-earth, than Starbucks.
The democratization of espresso and specialty coffee was also accompanied by the North American consumers with a passion for coffee machines, especially espresso. From their inception, the Starbucks marketing machine espresso Italian manufacturers, and Starbucks continues in its stores and on its website to distribute the machines (and utensils) of several brands like DeLonghi, but now under its own brand. Systems of Nestlé Nespresso, Senseo (a system developed by Douwe Egberts, Sara Lee Group and the manufacturer Philips) and the Tassimo Kraft Foods clash since the early 2000s to offer espresso coffee capsules, and Starbucks launched in 2006 its Starbucks Espresso Pods, doses of espresso machines designed to be compatible with the Easy Serving Espresso format to be in this market.
Human Resources. At Starbucks, employees are “partners”, a title more rewarding and more involving than “employee versatile. In the United States, unions are not represented in the business, but along with Costco and Whole Foods, Starbucks operates an active lobbying in order to perfect and to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, legislation that promotes the integration of trade union leaders within enterprises.
The names given to various sizes of drinks Starbucks are the subject of endless jokes. The use of Italian words and great ventilation is often confusing, and the appointment of tall drink for the smallest. Critics sometimes accuse Starbucks chain to “burn” his grains – this charge is sometimes heard in respect of Peet’s coffee. It is usually a critical focusing solely on the roasting process for black levels and half-black (French roast, or French Roast and Italian), commonly used for espresso or strong coffee, but to which some American palate prefer lighter roast levels, or coffee flavored with hazelnut or vanilla. In a test conducted by Consumer Reports in 2007, most consumers preferred the McDonald’s coffee than Starbucks, as it tasted too “bitter” and “burned.”
Globalization and pervasiveness. The rapid growth of Starbucks at the international level for some symbolizes the globalization of the economy and makes an ideal target for some supporters of the anti-globalization or global justice movement. Many chain stores have been vandalized at events around the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in Seattle in 1999. In the movie Fight Club, except that a cafe in the package feature of the mark appears briefly (3 min, 49s) a radical group destroyed a café in the ground floor of an office building, which sign resembles that of Starbucks. Starbucks stores are regularly the target of vandalism.
The ubiquity of Starbucks stores in certain regions of the world obviously contributes to this sense of opposition – in some American cities, there are Starbucks shops on either side of the street. In North America, some outlets are located within supermarkets, banks and libraries. The geographical situation of certain signs is not always well received.
In 2004, Starbucks employees of seven venues from New York joined the organization of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in the Starbucks Workers Union. On November 24, 2006 IWW members picketed against more than 50 outlets in Australia, Germany, New Zealand, Canada, Britain and the United States to protest the dismissal of five members of the Starbucks Workers Union by a Starbucks and asked to let them work again.
Because of such rapid expansion and innovative marketing strategies and distribution (including very high concentration of Starbucks premises), the company has become a symbol of globalization, as indicated, among others Naomi Klein’s book No Logo. It is also criticized for its approach to Fair Trade and the environment. Of the more than 600 million kilograms of coffee purchased by Starbucks in 2005, only 6% were classified as Fair Trade. Concern has been criticized for overly aggressive approach to the market. The company lowered the price of their products, often below their actual value. On September 10, 2009 Starbucks announced in Berlin that the campaign to Shared Planet coffee was sold in March 2010 for all stores in Europe, and will entirely come from Fair Trade sources.
Many of the controversies raised in 2000 to open Starbucks stores in the imperial palace in the Forbidden City in Beijing. In 2007, Chinese authorities have appealed for the closure of the premises. In response to the appeal of the company took off the signboard of the building the network, but it continued its activity. Eventually, on July 14, 2007 Starbucks Coffee Company decided to close the cafe in the Forbidden City.