Sunday, 7 December 2008

Roll Call of Shame: Companies who Don't Listen

Since I started this blog in the summer, one of my themes has been taking food retailers and manufacturers to task about their ingredients.
I have not directed my attention towards the obvious bad guys like McDonalds or Coca Cola because there are plenty of people already doing that. Instead I have targeted companies who market products as healthy when they are not. In one sense, these companies are worse because they prey on people's best intentions.

I have contacted nine companies, of whom only one has yet had the decency to answer all my questions in a full and frank way. So here is the roll call of shame - companies who failed to respond or responded unsatisfactorily. I am also including their contact details so that, should you be minded, you can email them to ask why they ignored our concerns.

Julian Graves - when I made my sugar pusher accusations they responded, but showed a spectacular lack of insight and failed to respond again when challenged on key points.
Contact: Steph Goodman (PR Manager) -

Holland and Barrett - failed to respond to my initial sugar pusher accusations and then later to a further post when I learned they had bought Julian Graves and already owned GNC, who I discovered were also selling sugar-laden snacks.
Contact: Barry Vickers (CEO) -

Marks and Spencer - the one beacon of light in this mire of disinterested rubbish vendors. When I posted about the sugar in their roast chicken, they responded, responded again and then responded yet again, until at least we understood why. They should not be part of the roll call of shame, but I am including them as a benchmark to show that not all companies show the same contempt for the enlightened consumer.

Sunridge Farms - failed to respond when challenged about the ingredients in their 'All Natural', 'Healthy Snack', Golden Bridge Mix.

DeLano's Markets - failed to respond when challenged about selling Sun Ridge Farm's fraudulently marketed snack, their response being, in effect, 'not our problem.' This is the email, which was so glib I did not consider worthy of posting at the time:

It is not our practice to comment on, or get involved in, the marketing and development of grocery offerings that are not produced on our premises. Although we don't always agree with description and packaging of an offering, it would not be the deciding factor for offering it for sale in our store's. As a grocery purveyor we feel it is our responsibility to source the products our customer request, and bring them to the sales floor at a fair retail and value. At DeLano's we pride ourselves in doing just that.

Contact: Desiree DeLano -

Wholefoods - failed to reply when I emailed them to draw their attention to my post about the sugar-laden snacks on sale in their New York store.
Contact: Ashley Hawkins -

The Vitamin Shoppe - when I posted about their sugary goods then emailed them, they sent two auto responses as I was passed from department to department, after which, nothing.

Eat Natural - When challenged about the unnatural ingredients in their products, failed to respond.

The Natural Confectionery Company - I recently challenged them about the unnatural ingredients in their products. At the time of writing, this remains a recent correspondence, so there is not yet any shame apportioned! I received this response last week:

I am afraid that we are unable to answer your query in this department, however, we
have forwarded your e-mail to the relevant area and they be in contact with you

I will keep this page updated as things develop.

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