The red food dye has been used in Strawberries & Creme Frappucinos and in other items requiring a red colour, including strawberry banana smoothies, raspberry swirl cake and red velvet whoopie pies.
The company said in a blog post on Thursday (April 19) that it will gradually phase out the use of cochineal extract, which is made from crushed insects, and replace it with the tomato-based lycopene.
The transition is expected to be made by the end of June in the US. It is unclear whether cochineal extract is currently used by Starbucks stores in the UK or elsewhere.
Bugs chiefly from Mexico and South America are dried out and crushed to make cochineal extract. It has been deemed safe and is commonly used as a colouring agent in foods and drinks, but Starbucks drew flak from vegetarian and vegan customers after its use was revealed last month.
Starbucks president Cliff Burrows said in the blog post: "Our commitment to you, our customers, is to serve the highest quality products available. As our customers you expect and deserve better - and we promise to do better."
In 2009, the US Food and Drug Administration made it a requirement for companies to tell consumers if they were using cochineal extract, owing to the potential for allergic reactions.
> First ski-through Starbucks opens in California
> 'Community' star Joel McHale makes making coffee sexy - video