Well, well well Wall’s, timely responses are not your forte! This VegRevver has been waiting a good four months and some, for a reply from Wall’s Ice Cream as to why they do not clearly label their products as suitable for vegetarians. Veggy or not, we all need a treat every now and again, and I speak for many vegetarians in saying that we want to know just what yummy treat we can consume! But apparently, Wall’s doesn’t relate to this concept. I already wrote a little blog post a while ago covering the same points that I am about to, but here’s a little refreshment of what Wall’s wrote to me. I asked them on the 11th October 2011 and asked them why they don’t label their products and I was told this…
“I can confirm that it is not a legal requirement to state on food packaging whether or not the product is suitable for vegetarians. However, we do list in the ingredients of our products if they come from an animal source.
I have enclosed a list which I hope you will find useful. This information has been provided in good faith using the most up-to-date information available at the date of going to print – 24.02.2011. Please note that the information is subject to change due to recipe amendments and therefore ALWAYS check the product label for the most accurate information.”
(First off I need to mention that I have responded to this email and received no answer whatsoever from Wall’s!! I’m still waiting….hence this blog post).
There were a few things about this reply that really riled me up. Firstly, it’s not a legal requirement but it’s common courtesy, is it not? Why should veggies part with their hard earned cash to purchase food from a multi-millionaire company that can’t even be bothered to label their products? I say we shouldn’t. Also, there are individuals that are allergic to meat products, that abstain from eating meat for religious reasons and moral reasons. Why doesn’t Wall’s seem to respect this? If I go and buy a pint of milk from Sainsbury’s it even says suitable for veggies. If I buy a can of chopped tomatoes from Tescos, it is also clearly labelled. These are products that are CLEARLY veggy and even THEY can be bothered to write it on their packaging! So I ask you Wall’s, why can’t you?
Secondly, the list which the Wall’s employee provided me with did not provide any concrete answers- a huge flaw was missing. I was informed that all products that contain animal products are indicated on their products. It’s quite simply a LIE! Here’s an example:
Wall’s Carte D’Or Chocolate Inspiration Ice Cream – Ingredients: “Reconstituted Skimmed Milk, Sugar, Vegetable Fat, Glucose-fructose Syrup, Whey Solids, Fat Reduced Cocoa Powder, Cocoa Butter, Cocoa Mass, Cocoa Powder, Whole Milk Powder, Skimmed Milk Powder, Emulisifiers (E471, E442, Soya Lecithin), Stabilisers (E410, E412, E407), Butteroil, Lactose, Flavouring.”
This chocolate ice cream was NOT listed on the list that I was provided with, therefore meaning that it is officially, according to Wall’s, unsuitable for veggies. There is no indication that any of the ingredients come from an animal. Some of you may or may not know that a range of ‘E’ numbers are often insects and nasty ingredients derived from animals, but of course, the onus is on the vegetarian consumer to find this out themselves when contemplating buying Wall’s ice cream. So my question that I posed to Wall’s over 4 months ago was this: why? As Wall’s Ice Cream websites do not provide any details of the ingredients of their products, I have got this information directly from both Sainsbury’s online grocery shopping, as well as Tesco’s and ‘mysupermarket.co.uk‘. All three sources confirm the same ingredients as I have listed above for this one product (believe me, in my email to Wall’s there were numerous examples I gave).
Realistically, how is a vegetarian consumer going to know whether or not they can eat Wall’s products when not only is there no sign or labelling, but the ingredients don’t even specify either? Also, this list I was provided with is NOWHERE to be found on their website. You actually have to write and request to read it!
It seems irrelevant to regularly check the product labelling, as it does not give vegetarians the required information as it stands. Is it really fair to exclude this much information for the estimated 3 to 4 million vegetarians in the UK? It’s time we took a stand my fellow veggies.
I have written again to Wall’s asking them to respond to my email telling me why they’ve given me incorrect information and don’t take their vegetarian customers seriously. Is legality the ONLY reason why big products and supermarkets label their food? No, and nor should it be. I reckon we should vote with our feet against Wall’s. The bunch of wiley weasels!
- Naughty Nestle & Wily Wall’s (vegetarianrevolution.wordpress.com)