Starbucks picks up hazelnuts from Tarragona for its new latte (or did they mean Hazelnuts from Reus?)

Starbucks is starting to sell a new latte in Japan called “Starbucks Discoveries – Tarragona Hazelnut Creme Brulee Latte”. This hazelnut-flavoured coffee latte has been included in the range “Discoveries” and since this autumn has been sold throughout Japan.

Starbucks Tarragona hazelnut latte, the largest coffee shop chain adopts provenance-labeling

Source: starbucks.co.jp

As you can see in the picture above and in the company’s japanese website, the packaging is depicting (quite accurately I have to say) a typical village from the Tarragona area, in Southern Catalonia, on top of a warm, earthy background that evokes the colours of autumn. The election of the Tarragona name for a hazelnut-related flavour is not coincidental, since the countryside around Tarragona, has traditionally been known as one of the best areas in Europe for the production of hazelnuts. It is very good news for the Catalan hazelnut producers, whose sector has suffered from really challenging economic conditions during the last two decades that have led many farmers to completely abandon production. They are now going to get massive international exposure. It is also very good news for all those that care about the provenance of our foods that a giant like Starbucks is embracing the concept of origins as part of their marketing strategy (this move is similar to the one of McDonald’s in Italy, that we already reported a few months back). However, there is something to be said regarding this choice of name: although Tarragona is the administrative capital of the hazelnut-belt of Southern Catalonia, production is centered around the city of Reus, and the name on which the local farmers have invested their commercial efforts is “Avellana de Reus” or “Hazelnut from Reus”. They even got the European Union to award them Protected Designation status under the name Avellana de Reus Denominacio d’Origen Protegida (a designation of origin that we have, of course referenced in our site!). This point might have no importance at all for Japanese consumers, but it risks igniting traditional local rivalries as the news spreadsĀ  in the hazelnut-producing region (here are stories in Catalan and Spanish where commentators are already picking up the name issue!). The city of Reus, birthplace of famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi (of Park Guell and Sagrada Familia fame) and a traditional commercial hub has historically challenged Tarragona’s regional dominance as Southern Catalonia’s administrative capital. The idea that Starbucks is “taking away” one of the sources of local pride and awarding the honor to the arch-rival Tarragona will not be well received in the local community. Someone at Starbucks marketing department, whether in Tokyo or in Seattle, was obviously oblivious to the implications of this naming decision, but in any case, we welcome the move because of what it represents: a recognition of the qualities of local produce and of provenance-labeling. We are waiting for more!

Starbucks is starting to sell a new latte in Japan called “Starbucks Discoveries – Tarragona Hazelnut Creme Brulee Latte”. This hazelnut-flavoured coffee latte has been included in the range “Discoveries” and since this autumn has been sold throughout Japan.

Starbucks Tarragona hazelnut latte, the largest coffee shop chain adopts provenance-labeling

Source: starbucks.co.jp

As you can see in the picture above and in the company’s japanese website, the packaging is depicting (quite accurately I have to say) a typical village from the Tarragona area, in Southern Catalonia, on top of a warm, earthy background that evokes the colours of autumn. The election of the Tarragona name for a hazelnut-related flavour is not coincidental, since the countryside around Tarragona, has traditionally been known as one of the best areas in Europe for the production of hazelnuts. It is very good news for the Catalan hazelnut producers, whose sector has suffered from really challenging economic conditions during the last two decades that have led many farmers to completely abandon production. They are now going to get massive international exposure. It is also very good news for all those that care about the provenance of our foods that a giant like Starbucks is embracing the concept of origins as part of their marketing strategy (this move is similar to the one of McDonald’s in Italy, that we already reported a few months back). However, there is something to be said regarding this choice of name: although Tarragona is the administrative capital of the hazelnut-belt of Southern Catalonia, production is centered around the city of Reus, and the name on which the local farmers have invested their commercial efforts is “Avellana de Reus” or “Hazelnut from Reus”. They even got the European Union to award them Protected Designation status under the name Avellana de Reus Denominacio d’Origen Protegida (a designation of origin that we have, of course referenced in our site!). This point might have no importance at all for Japanese consumers, but it risks igniting traditional local rivalries as the news spreadsĀ  in the hazelnut-producing region (here are stories in Catalan and Spanish where commentators are already picking up the name issue!). The city of Reus, birthplace of famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi (of Park Guell and Sagrada Familia fame) and a traditional commercial hub has historically challenged Tarragona’s regional dominance as Southern Catalonia’s administrative capital. The idea that Starbucks is “taking away” one of the sources of local pride and awarding the honor to the arch-rival Tarragona will not be well received in the local community. Someone at Starbucks marketing department, whether in Tokyo or in Seattle, was obviously oblivious to the implications of this naming decision, but in any case, we welcome the move because of what it represents: a recognition of the qualities of local produce and of provenance-labeling. We are waiting for more!