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

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

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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