Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Chocolate Eating Vegetarians Unite - Mars Recants

Who says it doesn't pay to complain? If I had a pound for every time someone told me, "it's not worth it," I'd be a multi-millionaire. In reality, if enough people make their voices heard, social (or culinary) change isn't far behind.

A couple of days ago, I mentioned that Mars candy was no longer vegetarian.
The update on that issue is that enough people complained to make Mars reconsider this decision.

Here's the letter I received today from Mars:

Dear Sir/Madam
Thank you for taking the time to contact us in connection with the change of ingredients in our chocolate confectionery and ice cream range.

Please note that after recently changing the source of some of the whey that is used in some of our chocolate products we have received lots of feedback that this decision has made it difficult for some of you, especially those of you who are vegetarians, to continue to enjoy our products. We realise that we made a mistake and we apologise. We have committed that we at Mars UK will ensure that a selection of favourite brands including Mars bars, Snickers bars, Galaxy and Maltesers will be suitable for vegetarians in the near future.

Meanwhile we are currently experiencing unusually high volumes of contacts from our consumers and therefore we hope that you understand that, rather than answer your question individually, we are attaching a list of questions and answers we believe would be useful and help answer your enquiry.

Alternatively you can visit our web site (www.masterfoodsconsumercare.co.uk) for this, and other useful information.

Once again thank you for taking the time to contact us. Please do get back in touch, at the dedicated email address below, if your specific query has not been answered and we will do our best to get a speedy response to you.

Yours faithfully

On Behalf of Fiona Dawson
Mars UK

Q1.What are you announcing?

A1.We have recently changed the source of some of the whey which is used in our chocolate products made in the UK from a vegetarian friendly variety to one which contains traces of traditional rennet from animal sources. We have received lots of feedback from consumers and reversed this decision.

Q2.Are you reverting to vegetarian recipes for all of those products that were subject to the ingredient change?

A2.Yes, this announcement means that favourite products - Mars bars, Snickers bars, Galaxy, and Maltesers will once again be suitable for vegetarians.

Q3.You make lots of other brands - what about the suitability of them?

A3.Other products will also be suitable for vegetarians including Minstrels, Revels, and Ripple. However, Twix, Bounty and Celebrations will continue not to be suitable for vegetarians.

Q4.I'm a vegetarian - which products can I eat / should I avoid?

A4.Currently we cannot guarantee that our products contain vegetarian rennet. However, we are starting to change our manufacturing process with immediate effect. We want to get our vegetarian products on the shelves as soon as possible. During this process of changing the recipes we will provide updates on this consumer care website, on a regular basis. If you are not sure about the suitability of our products please call us on 0845 0450042.

Q5.Why did you decide to change the ingredients in the first place?

A5.We made the change to broaden our supply base in order to ensure we could continue to provide our consumers with products of consistent quality in the future.

Q6.Will you now consult with consumers on any future changes to products?

A6.Yes. This change was a mistake and we are sorry that we may have prevented consumers from enjoying the products they've always enjoyed.

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