Starbucks expands its lunch menu

SEATTLE Starbucks said it has expanded its lunch offerings to include such upscale choices as Tomato Mozzarella Insalata, an Italian dish, and Fiesta Salad, a corn and black-bean salad topped with grilled chicken.

Several of the new dishes will be offered on a regional basis, the coffee giant said. Those selections include White Chicken Curry with Couscous, Bowtie Pasta with Goat Cheese and Asian Sesame Noodle Salad.

Prices were not disclosed.

The 4,400 Starbucks units that offer lunch had been expected to extend their menus since the chain pulled a line of boutique sodas from its refrigerated display cases a few weeks ago. The move was intended to clear space for more food items.

At least one major competitor, Caribou Coffee Co., was also expected to expand its food array.

In disclosing the lunch-menu additions, Starbucks noted that it was also offering several seasonal beverage choices, including a Raspberry Mocha Frappuccino Light, described as having one-third fewer calories than the new Raspberry Mocha Frappucino chilled coffee drink.

Parent company Starbucks Corp. operates or franchises about 13,000 outlets worldwide.