Shopper blasts Coles for 'confusing' vegan mix up: 'This isn't ok!'

·News Reporter
·4-min read

A Coles shopper has slammed the retailer for stocking non-vegan products in their vegan section.

The store currently stocks I’m Free From Chicken Nuggets and I’m Free From Chicken Tenders, amongst plant-based vegan products in their freezer section, however, the placement is confusing customers.

Taking to social media the concerned shopper said there have been way too many stories of people being caught out thinking these products were chicken-free when they actually aren't.

Coles can you please understand the constant reports and complaints regarding specific issues knowing it has been an ongoing issue and take out the actual chicken from your vegan section,” the shopper said.

The non-vegan 'I'm Free From' range. Source: Facebook
The non-vegan 'I'm Free From' range is located amongst the vegan products in the Coles freezer section. Source: Facebook

He added that while he wasn’t vegan himself, he did serve vegan food regularly to family and friends.

“This is an ongoing issue and hope the more we can share this issue maybe one day it will be dealt with!

“So many stories and the packaging is disguised that this should have been fixed months ago!

“Please can you take out the non-vegan products in your vegan section....This isn't ok!”

Other shoppers have noticed too

It seems he’s not the only one who has been caught out by the confusing placement of the “Free From” range.

“I’ve been vegan for nearly 10 years and fallen for those chicken tenders. Thankfully I only took one bite and knew it was real chicken. It’s very deceiving product placement and packaging,” another shopper said.

“Fell for this last week! Wasn’t watching, just assuming that only vegan food would be in the vegan section, especially seeing as it says free from,” another added.

On closer inspection, the packaging says the products are free from gluten and wheat but can be found amongst the vegan products. Source: Coles
On closer inspection, the packaging says the products are free from gluten and wheat but can be found amongst the vegan products. Source: Coles

Meanwhile, other shoppers agreed it was confusing, saying “it wasn’t hard” to rearrange the shelves.

“Yeah, it's annoying coz it's all mixed together. Just separate it, not hard.

“Yep. I had to double-check the first time and was like wtf?!” added another.

But who is responsible?

But not everyone thought Coles was to blame, saying people should take responsibility for checking the labels themselves.

The labels on the chicken boxes actually say Free From Gluten and Wheat.

One vegetarian shopper said she constantly checks food labels herself noting that “the gluten-free section has been right next to the fake meats for years”.

“Never rely on a supermarket or a food company. Always do your own checking. Always. Not just in the vegan section but everywhere. Case in point: a tomato soup brand used to have trace amounts of beef fat,” she said.

The entrance to a brightly lit Coles supermarket in Ropes Crossing at dusk. Source: Getty Images
The I'm Free From range is available in store and online at Coles Supermarkets. Source: Getty Images

Others expressed the same opinion saying that shoppers should be responsible for checking package labels themselves.

“Why do we need our hand held at every stage of life? Take responsibility for your own actions,” one person commented.

“If you purchased, prepared and ate meat, then you're not looking too carefully at the products you're buying. I'm lactose intolerant, but I don't buy cow's milk because Coles put it next to the almond milk.”

Coles responds to confusion

A Coles spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia that similar items are often shelved together but shelf space constraints meant this wasn't always possible.

"We have a growing number of customers choosing to purchase vegan and meat-alternative products and we are working hard to continue to expand that range to meet their demands," the spokesperson said.

"Where possible we group similar items together, but this is not always possible due to the different shelf space and layouts in our stores across our network.

"We are concerned to hear about this customer’s experience and have referred this issue to the National Grocery Space Department for their consideration.”

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