Sunday, February 04, 2007

"Real" Canadian Superstore Ignores Vegans

I sat down with a large grocery superstore's "Healthy Insider's Report" to read about their new organic products. We don't buy veggies at this store, but we usually get soymilk, tofu and other pantry staples there, as they are well-priced and the store is a five minute drive away. They have a fairly well-stocked natural food section and carry many organic products that we use. So I was a little more than annoyed when I saw this page entitled "Vegetarians Rejoice!". They have finally decided to identify their vegetarian products with a symbol. Not an internationally recognized vegetarian symbol, but one of their own creation. They guarantee that the product is suitable for "lacto-ovo vegetarians". Because they are the most "common type". They go on to describe that there are different kinds of vegetarians, such as "flexitarians, freegans and vegans!" but they only label for lacto-ovos because they are the "most common type". It annoys me that they try to discredit veganism by grouping them with flexitarians (who eat meat products when it suits them) and freegans (who are a pretty fringe group that wouldn't buy products at this superstore anyway). They could have said "vegans, fruitarians and raw foodists" or something similar. It is generally pretty easy as a lacto-ovo vegetarian to skim a list of ingredients to determine if the product contains meat. It is harder for a vegan to wade through ingredients like "whey powder" and "dried yolk". They could have easily adopted a variant of the vegetarian symbol to indicate if the product was vegan.
It would be hard for us to boycott this store, as there is only one other local grocery that carries some of the similar products at a higher price and the "locally owned" natural foods store is a twenty minute drive into the city, but we will definitely make an effort to buy less there. And I'll be sending "President's Choice" a copy of this post.

8 comments:

Melissa said...

Good for you. Our grocery store recently became a superstore and I got so excited. Yes, they have way more organic produce now, and some more "fake" stuff (which isn't even all vegan), but they could really stand to do better. Plus, they took away Silk :( You're so right that its no problem for lacto-ovo's to skim a label. Oh well, at least its a step in the right direction.

Judy said...

Oh, the many complaints I have with Loblaws. Melissa is right, at least it's a step in the right direction.

Sarah said...

Yeah, I was a little annoyed with the new labelling idea. I actually bought a product that looks vegetarian - Carrot Soupreme Soup - but despite veggie-only ingredients, the package not only lacked the well-recognized 'V' symbol, but their new vegetarian symbol as well. I'm going to call the 1-800 number to ask if it is truly vegan. I hope I reach someone knowledgeable.

Urban Vegan said...

A move obviously motivated by market share--and stupidly marketed.

Vivacious Vegan said...

Grrr! How irritating. I just sent out a couple of emails today voicing my annoyances with some companies. I know it probably doesn't make a difference but at least it makes me feel better in the short term.

Kati said...

This is very annoying. It's definitely much more difficult for vegans to find products to suit their diets than it is for ovo-lactos. And what's with the flexitarian thing?? I agree with you, I don't want to be lumped together with "them" as I don't consider that way of eating to be vegetarian. *sigh* At least the store is acknowledging that there are different diet types out there. It's a step...in what direction I'm not sure.

bazu said...

What a seriously wrong-headed marketing ploy... what's up with the whole "flexitarians, freegans, and... oh yeah, vegans"?? I haven't felt that marginalized in a while! (no offense to freegans, it's just that as you said, they are not a very large community)

Sarah said...

Freegans? Flexitarians? What the hell is that? When I was an ovo-lacto vegetarian - it was pretty easy to go shopping but since being vegan - I'm sick to death of buying something and only realising after I get home that it isn't vegan at all. It takes us 3 times as long to go shopping because I have to read every ingredient on every food item I put in the trolley! I guess with time, I will start to recognise brands I know are truly vegan. I have mostly stopped buying from the big stores and have found a great little vegan supermarket that garantees all thier products are vegan. It's very small but has all the basics you need and can order an organic vege box for Thursday pickup. It's becoming a long drive but it's worth the peice of mind. We need more shops like this!