In its latest effort to regain coffee-chain dominance (after closing 600 locations and pledging to build green stores), Starbucks introduced its new all-natural bakery items today throughout the U.S. For the calorie-conscious, the portion sizes are smaller. For the cost-conscious, the prices are about the same. The formerly dinner-platesize cookies have been reduced by about a third, and their Marshmallow Dream bars (the Starbucks take on a Rice Krispie treat) is a practically virtuous 210 calories, down from a sinful 360. Also gone are ingredients that are bad for you, like high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors and dyes. (The banana bread, formerly artificially flavored, now gets a quarter of its weight from real live bananas, nutritionist Keith-Thomas Ayoob said yesterday at a press preview.) Starbucks is also particularly proud of the provenance of the fruit components, though Michigan cherries, Oregon blueberries, and Washington apples are not exactly local. There are new, non-bakery items, too. We tried to order one of the new Protein Plates (cheese, peanut butter, fruit, a mini-bagel, and a hard-boiled egg; 370 calories) later, to balance out the baked goods, and it was sold out.
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