I first contacted Waitrose on 14/07/11 to ask them about why they don’t provide vegetarian labelling on their behind the counter cheeses online. That’s 101 cheeses to be precise. 101 cheeses, to all intents and purposes, that us veggies can’t eat. Boo.
To me, behind the counter cheeses are reminiscent of occasions like Christmas, dinner parties and New Year. It’s about decadence and celebration. It’s continental and European. Enjoyed with fine wine or the plain old cracker, cheeses from behind the counter boast luxury.
So why doesn’t Waitrose think the vegetarian deserves access to luxury which is on par with omnivores? And it’s not just the vegetarian; I have friends who are Muslim and have a met a Jew or two. They also require vegetarian cheeses as animal rennet used in the production of non-vegetarian cheese almost always breaks their Halal or Kosher diet- a diet chosen according to religious practices. Let’s not forget the other religious denominations which also preach adherence to dietary restrictions, specifically vegetarianism, like Buddhism, Hinduism and the Hare Krishna Movement. That’s a considerable force in the food retail industry, is it not?
Do Muslims, Jews, Hindus etc., not possess the same importance as non-restricted Waitrose customers? Apparently, not yet. Here at VegRev we’re shocked that the multi-cultural society which constitutes Blighty is not being properly catered for by the big food retailers.
So, I’ve written twice to Waitrose to campaign for the labelling of vegetarian cheeses on their online behind the counter section. The online food industry is growing bigger and bigger. More people are using supermarket websites to purchase their groceries. It makes a lot of sense to order a selection of cheeses for an occasion online- that way you know that you’ll get what you order instead of walking in-store to find the key players on your planned cheese board are missing. It’s a good resource for the obsessive planners and organisers out there. But not for vegetarians.
The First Response
Waitrose Customer Sales and Support department were quick enough in getting back to me. They told me on 18/07/11, 4 days after my initial enquiry, that they have forwarded my query onto their Buyers ‘for investigation.’ I gave them two months, had a few holidays, and anticipated that the top secret investigation would have surely born some conclusive results.
Well…I say that I ‘gave them’ two months. In fact, they didn’t even get back to me. It was only until I took the initiative to send another email on 19/09/11 to ask where my first enquiry and its results had ended up, that I received an apology for the delay. Apparently, they’ll be in touch with me as soon as they have more information. The Buyers are still investigating- that was on 25/09/11. Do I think they would have contacted me unless I prompted them again? No.
I eagerly await your response
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll get some answers and, although it’s a longshot, maybe some changes. Will I have to get in touch again to nag the Buyers about their top secret work? Probably. Either way, we’ll be keeping you posted!