woman buying oranges in plastic mesh at supermarket Some of the oranges available to buy from Tesco are not vegan-friendly - Media Credit: drazen_zigic

Why Is Tesco Labeling Fruit As Unsuitable For Vegans?

Some of the fruit being sold by Tesco is coated in shellac and beeswax


2 Minutes Read

Tesco has come under fire for adding animal products to some of its fruit.  

The UK’s biggest supermarket chain currently sells some produce coated in protective wax that contains shellac, a product made by female lac bugs. Beeswax is also used.

Tesco has confirmed that its oranges are labeled as non-vegan due to the use of beeswax as a post-harvest coating. The same applies to some other citrus fruits, including lemons and limes.

Tesco pledges to do better for vegan consumers

Beeswax and shellac are commonly used to coat citrus fruits as they help keep the produce fresher for longer. 

However, due to the growing number of people seeking out plant-based options, Tesco claims to be looking into ways to support its supply chain to switch to animal-free protective coatings.

Historically, Tesco has been considered one of the most vegan-friendly grocery chains in the UK. Having significantly increased its holiday plant-based range last year, it also revealed that it is looking to offer a plant-based alternative to every animal product it sells.

Alongside supporting independent brands, including VFC, the chain has introduced vegan dog treats and continues to showcase its flagship plant-based brand, Wicked Kitchen. 

Derek Sarno, a chef and Tesco’s director of plant-based food, co-founded Wicked Kitchen in a bid to help people move away from animal products, in the name of animal welfare.

“I decided to go vegan because, as a chef, I feel responsible for the food that I feed people and believe we can do it in a much more compassionate way that can be just as delicious as any animal product out there,” he told Veganuary.

Demand for Wicked Kitchen products was reported to have doubled during this year’s Veganuary event.

Tesco in hot water for ‘misleading’ advert

The new fruit-related backlash comes shortly after Tesco had an advert for its Plant Chef range banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). 

Deemed “misleading” in terms of how beneficial eating a veggie burger is for the environment, the ASA pulled the advert. It claimed that Tesco failed to “substantiate” how the food was better than a meat alternative. 

In its rebuttal, Tesco stated that it was not making any “absolute environmental claims.”

Conversely, leading climate experts have stated that a move to plant-based diets is categorically essential if we are to avoid the climate crisis getting worse.

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The Author

Amy Buxton

Amy enjoys reporting on vegan news and sustainability initiatives. She has a degree in English literature and language and is raising a next-gen vegan daughter.

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Alison Killick
Alison Killick
1 month ago

Thank you for highlighting this! I had no idea, so I’ll be checking citrus now!

Plant boy
Plant boy
1 month ago

Wow. A lot to unpack here.
Who have they come under fire from and to what extent?
The fruit is still plant based, vegans are always harping on about how plant based isn’t vegan, so what’s the issue with shellac and bee’s wax? Do you people usually eat the rinds of citrus fruit? The things are 99.9% plant.

I find it odd that you’d have an issue with ASA pulling an ad that parrots the unfounded nonsense that reducing meat intake will impact the climate.

Most data we have suggests that reducing meat consumption will only impact our environment by an incredibly small amount, and those figures are projections of what would happen if meat eating stopped.

Utter fantasy.

Just more opinion based news.

Plant Based News Admin
Plant Based News Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  Plant boy

Hi, could you cite the studies that say reducing consumption from the most destructive industries on the planet will only impact our environment by an incredibly small amount? The largest and most comprehensive review on that topic to date says we would reduce ag land needed by 75% and reduce our food-related carbon footprint by 73%… https://josephpoore.com/Science%20360%206392%20987%20-%20Accepted%20Manuscript.pdf

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