Approximately three years ago we started investigating why both Nestle and Walls chose not consistently label all their food products suitable for vegetarians and we’re still no closer to a definitive answer.
We were given a Nestle Dairy Box in April this year and of course, it wasn’t labelled suitable for vegetarians (containing whey, but no further detail on its source). So we pestered Nestle again and asked whether the Dairy Box was suitable for vegetarians and why it wasn’t listed in their online list of vegetarian products. Shall I just keep a list of Nestle suitable products in my handbag for those moments I want to buy a chocolate bar? Along with Walls’ list and more? Of course, that must be the logical answer.
I think Nestle have assumed that vegetarians are superhuman with the power of deduction not bestowed upon anyone else.
I was given the first response by Nestle:
Unlike in the case of allergens, the law does not require food manufacturers to state on a product if it is suitable for vegetarians. In the majority of cases, the decision not to eat meat is a lifestyle or religious choice.
But what about when it’s not the majority of cases? Some rare individuals do have meat allergies. What’s more frustrating is that we’re being told a vegetarian’s lifestyle choice isn’t respected by Nestle labelling policy. I pressed for a more suitable answer and was told the following:
We are aware that many people follow a vegetarian diet for one reason or another, indeed we receive many requests each month for our list of vegetarian products. We appreciate that on-pack information is a lot easier to check and we have noted your comments regarding a vegetarian symbol. We are constantly reviewing our labelling policy and will certainly bear your comments in mind.
If they receive many requests then why, three years on, have they done nothing about it? It’s unacceptable that a multinational company is choosing to disregard its vegetarian consumers by not putting a simple vegetarian symbol on its food products.
We’ve decided its time to step up our game. A potential lobby campaign perhaps? Tell us what you think: