Television host Janet Street-Porter has branded a fictional character a ‘militant vegan’.
The presenter made the comments while discussing Tesco’s advert for vegan sausages on daytime television show Loose Women.
Street-Porter, along with fellow hosts, asked whether the advert is ‘demonizes meat’, as it promotes plant-based meat.
Tesco vegan advert
The advert, called Carl’s ‘All-Change’ Casserole, features a father called Carl, who reformulates his sausage casserole recipe after his young daughter comes home from school one day and says: “I don’t want to eat animals anymore.”
“Carl never thought it would come to this. But his little girl always comes first,” says the supermarket in its description of the advert.
“Find out how he switched up daddy-daughter dinner time with our new Tesco Plant Chef Meat-Free Cumberland style Bangers in his Food Love Story.”
Street-Porter, along with fellow hosts Coleen Nolan, Ruth Langford, and Brenda Edwards, shared their views on the ad.
“I looked at this advert, and I wonder what has happened, what world am I living in now that a child can come into the kitchen and instead of the dad saying ‘let’s talk about it darling’, he says ‘alright, let’s change it and have vegan sausages’,” said Street-Porter.
“Tesco, most of Britain still eats meat. Farmers produce meat. Now Tesco has got a head of plant-based innovation who’s obviously in charge of pursuing the vegan pound and persuing products they can flog to people who don’t eat meat.”
She added that if she didn’t want to eat what her parents cooked for dinner when she was young, she would just be given ‘a potato’.
‘Pressure from kids’
Other hosts had more nuanced views, with Langford saying she could ‘understand being pressurized by your kids’ into feeding them veggie food.
Edwards agreed, saying: “That’s actually happened [to me], Jamal [her son] came in and said ‘Mummy I don’t want to eat meat anymore, I want to try doing the whole vegetarian thing,’.” She admitted her son ended up eating meat soon after, when he smelled her food cooking, then asked what was wrong with the advert.
Edwards then called the girl in the advert as ‘a child of the future,’ with Street-Porter scoffing, describing her as a ‘militant vegan’.
‘It’s the best part’
Speaking to Plant Based News, Tesco’s Head of Plant-Based Innovation, Derek Sarno, defended the advert stating: “The whole team wanted a food love story focusing on plant-based [food] and the new launch of Plant Chef and Wicked.
“We just recipe approved and encouraged them to be brave and keep the part when the girl says she doesn’t want to eat animals. It’s the best part.
“The sooner these guys realize we don’t ‘need’ or ‘have to’ have animal products in our food system the faster we’ll be able to save our planet!”