Coles sends vegan customer 'ridiculous' substitute for plant-based mince

Brooke Rolfe
·News Reporter

Coles has sent a package of real beef mince to a vegan customer who specifically ordered a plant based alternative in an online order.

Perth shopper Zoe Callis described the substitution as “pretty ridiculous” given the supermarket’s expansive range of vegan options.

She placed the order on Monday for The Alternative Meat Co’s plant based mince and was informed the following morning the item would be replaced by Harvey Beef Mince.

The supermarket notified Ms Callis “that unfortunately, some of the items you ordered are unavailable” and apologised for the “inconvenience” in an email.

The 25-year-old told Yahoo News Australia she thought being supplied beef mince when the store stocked many vegan alternative meat products was “the funniest thing”.

Plant based mince is shown with Zoe Callis, who ordered the product from Coles in Perth but received beef instead.
Zoe Callis ordered The Alternative Meat Co's mince but was supplied beef instead. Source: The Alternative Meat Co/Facebook

“Normally I buy the Vegie Delights Vegie Mince so they could have just sent me that,” Ms Callis said.

“Or usually they would just give you a refund.”

Ms Callis said she thought it was pretty obvious beef mince and vegan mince were “not interchangeable”, so was confused as to why animal meat was used as a substitution.

“It’s disappointing because I really like that Coles has lots of new vegan products at the moment,” she said.

She added there seemed like no need to specify not to have items substituted because of Coles’ impressive offering of plant based products.

“I didn’t tick the ‘do not substitute’ box because I assumed it would be easy for the alternative mince to be replaced by something else vegan.”

After sharing her experience to Facebook, others agreed it was a bizarre choice to have a vegan product replaced by an obviously non-vegan product.

Beef mince from Harvey Beef is shown after Coles shopper received the product instead of vegan mince in Perth.
A package of Harvey Beef was sent as a substitute for vegan mince. Source: Harvey Beef

“No way, they are completely different things,” someone wrote in a comment.

Another argued that, “as a massive corporation, Coles has the resources to do better, and customers have the right to expect better”.

A spokesperson from Coles told Yahoo News Australia it had apologised and offered a refund to Ms Callis due to the “unsuitable” product being supplied.

“At Coles we are proud of our expanding range of alternative meat products and are always looking for innovative and delicious new options for the growing number of customers who enjoy vegetarian and vegan foods,” the spokesperson said.

“Customers who shop on Coles Online have the option to request a substitute product if what they order is not available in store.

“In this instance, a suitable alternative was not provided, and we have apologised to the customer and offered her a full refund.

“We are reviewing the processes we have in place for online orders to ensure this does not occur again.”

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