MINNEAPOLIS Caribou Coffee is now offering hot oatmeal at its approximately 500 restaurants, matching competitor offerings and becoming the latest restaurant brand to focus on healthful offerings in the New Year.
The coffeehouse chain is offering seven grain and “oatmeal blend” varieties of the breakfast in five flavors: Classic, Apple Cinnamon, Cranberry Orange, Maple Brown Sugar Crunch, and Very Berry.
The offering is priced at $3.49 with a medium coffee and $4.99 with a medium latte.
Caribou is promoting the healthful qualities of oatmeal, citing studies indicating that eating oatmeal lowers LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol and might reduce the risk of heart disease. It also points to the cereal’s high fiber content.
The oatmeal is made with a choice of soy, skim or 2 percent milk, and guests can also custom-make their own oatmeal by choosing up to three toppings from choices such as apple-cinnamon, strawberry compote, orange compote, dried cranberries, golden raisins, almonds, maple syrup and maple brown sugar crunch.
Caribou said food offerings at the chain will continue to expand this year. It currently is testing an in-store baking program in some markets. The chain also recently reformulated its chocolate beverages using Guittard chocolate.
Caribou’s competitors also are beefing up their offerings.
Jamba Juice recently added a new oatmeal flavor, Berry Cherry Pecan, and is promoting it with $1 Oatmeal Wednesdays. It also announced plans to offer hot tea drinks and hot chocolate starting in March.
This week, Starbucks added four panini sandwiches with fewer than 400 calories each, at more than 4,200 units equipped with warming ovens, as well as packaged snacks with no more than 220 calories per serving.
The coffee giant also has expanded its hot beverage offerings, adding a vanilla rooibos flavor to its Tazo full-leaf tea line, and spotlighting its Skinny Cinnamon Dulce Latte and Skinny Vanilla Latte, which have 90 calories for their “tall” 12-ounce size.