Saturday, August 8, 2009

Beware of Morningstar Farms, Previously Vegan Foods No Longer Vegan!

So Adam Kochanowicz of the Vegan News has a new resource page system to look up products and companies to see if they are vegan or test on animals. It is located here. Anyway, he posted a snippet saying if you are looking for Vegan burger crumbles, to buy Boca as they are vegan and NOT Morningstar Farms, because they contain dairy and egg. This surprised me as I have been buying the Morningstar Farms ones because I have checked the ingredients and never seen dairy or egg listed and they are one of the few foods A actually likes and eats.

I checked Morningstar Farms website, and sure enough, listed as ingredients are dairy and egg. I checked the package in my freezer (I know I am crazy, but not crazy stupid) and my package did not show dairy or egg. I emailed the company for clarification and to my dismay, I received the following response:

Mrs. Crazy Vegan Mom,

Thank you for contacting us concerning Morningstar Farms® Meal Starters™ Grillers™ Recipe Crumbles. We appreciate your interest in our company and products, as well as your loyalty over the years.

This product was reformulated in January to contain milk and egg ingredients for proprietary reasons. The product that you have in your freezer was likely made prior to this reformulation. Because product formulations may change from time to time, consumers are strongly encouraged to read the package label prior to every purchase. If you are vegan or have food allergies, we are sorry for any inconvenince this may cause you.

Kellogg Company was founded with a philosophy that encouraged people to improve their health. As W.K. Kellogg said, "We are a company of dedicated people making quality products for a healthier world."

We appreciate the opportunity to respond to your questions and concerns and thank you for your loyalty to our brands.

Courtney Placinta

Assistant Manager, Consumer Communications
Consumer Affairs Department

My favorite part is: Kellogg Company was founded with a philosophy that encouraged people to improve their health. As W.K. Kellogg said, "We are a company of dedicated people making quality products for a healthier world."

Bah! How is adding dairy and egg to an previously vegan product improving health?
So, this was my response and I encourage everyone to inundate them with emails, phone calls and letters urging them to change back! Here is their contact info page.

Ms. Placinta,

Thank you for your reply.

I must say though, that I am extremely disappointed! If your philosophy is to improve peoples health, then you are certainly going about it the wrong way. Eggs and dairy are not healthy food choices, in fact they are very bad for peoples health. Eggs and dairy are full of cholesterol and saturated fat, they have been shown to increase cancer and heart disease along with contributing to obesity. Not to mention how bad it is for the poor chickens and cows that must suffer horribly to supply the eggs and dairy.

I do hope your company will reconsider this bad decision. You will lose many customers because of this. I am also surprised considering the huge influx of upset customers who convinced Boca to remove all eggs from their entire line, a wise choice they made to follow the suggestions of their customers.

I have already seen a backlash to this decision among many people, all my vegan friends and family members have decided to boycott your products.

I am sorry to say I will no longer buy any Morning Star Farms products until I see this company reverse this bad decision.

Thank you,
Crazy Vegan Mom


Melissa_U said...

Thanks for the update. I recently changed to a vegan diet and I noticed this recently while shopping. Very disappointing.

ladenedge said...

Wow, thanks for the post. I might've gone months without checking the package again.

Aubade said...

Thanks for the post. Oh goodness, I hope they don't change my vegan grillers. Not sure if I can live without them. (ok, yes, I could - but I love them so!) Why Morningstar Farms, why???

Jennifer said...

MS grillers used to be non-vegan, but they recently (maybe within the last 2 years) reformulated to be vegan. they must have decided they preferred the unhealthier cheaper product, and reversed the decision.

i'm disappointed, but to be honest, monrningstar food is crap anyway (loaded with fat, salt, and sugar). for similar healthier substitutes, try something like crumbled tofu or tempeh, textured vegetable protein (TVP), lentils, or ground seitan.

iRaw said...

I'm surprised to read this - thanks for blogging about it. Every once is a great while I will grab a Morningster Farms product for easy meal planning...not anymore.

Great reply letter!


They also use GMO soy and practice factory farming so not a good place to buy from. Any HUGE company might be a bad choice. I wish I wasn't so lazy and would learn how to make my own GMO free veggie meat replacements..

AuntieCake said...

I just had to share my experience with this.. after finding out about it, i emailed the company expressing my disdain. This was the response I got:


Thank you for letting us know how you feel about Morningstar Farms® Meal Starters™ Grillers™ Recipe Crumbles. We appreciate our consumers sharing their opinions with us.

We understand that you were looking forward to enjoying our Meal Starters™ and are sorry to hear that this didn't measure up to your family's expectations because of the ingredients. We are sending coupons you can use towards the purchase other products that you enjoy. Please allow 7-10 business days for delivery.

Our goal is to have our consumers enjoy every product we offer. However, we know that not all of our consumers will approve of the new foods or reformulations that we introduce. Thanks to comments like yours, we are able to continually improve our products. We appreciate your input and will share your remarks with our food development and marketing teams.

Again, thank-you for the taking the time to share your views. We hope to keep you as a loyal consumer for many years to come.


Rick Duran III
Consumer Affairs Department"

I replied thanking him for his response and said that since i'm not buying those products anymore, to keep the coupons. Today I open my mail and find coupons from Kelloggs for products that aren't vegan! I was blown away! That speaks volumes about how the company really cares about their customers.

Anonymous said...

does BOCA still sell crumbles?? i used to get them all the time but haven't seen them in Whole Foods or any health food store in MONTHS!

Anonymous said...

9/6/10 This year the MSF bacon has chemicals and dyes, including Red#3 and Yellow #6.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for doing this research. We too have always used Morningstar Crumbles, and now after reading your post will stop immediately. I LOVED your response to them, WAY TO GO CRAZY VEGAN MOM!
Signed...Another Crazy Vegan Mom :)

Ron Shark said...

Their unannounced "reformulation for proprietary reasons" (and no change on the packaging to note the "new flavor") is enough for me to do what I should have done ages ago, boycott the company. As a vegan, they clearly do not care for us and are blatantly in it to make quick money off vegetarianism and do so as cheap as possible. Moving away from veganism of any kind is quite obvious. Being owned by a huge corporation is also a turnoff, especially one that seems to be all for GMOs and not the health standards Mr. Kellogg's supposedly set forth for the company to ignore.

Anonymous said...

I recently checked my package, and it did say that it contains skim milk and eggs. Maybe they took yours into consideration, or yours was just from an earlier batch from before they changed the ingrediants.

Anonymous said...

It actually does say and is labeled "Dairy" on the box. If you look every product has a U with a circle around it an a "D" next to that. The "D" means Dairy - so they did technically write it correctly, yet not everyone knows how to interpret this symbol. I do understand that you would not necessarily know what this identifiable features is, but it is labeled as dairy.
I would look for this "D" symbol next to any "Kosher" symbols as well on future products. They do surprise you, but they are labeled!

Crazy Vegan Mom said...

The reason for this post was that these products were Vegan, then Morningstar Farms started adding Dairy and Egg to their previously Vegan products.

oldhound said...

Point of clarification: the D, which is meant to inform consumers who keep kosher that the product contains milk products. However, sometimes it means only that the product was made on machinery used to make items containing milk product. It does not indicate whether the product does or does not contain eggs. So if you intend to boycott the company because they use dairy in some products, that should be a helpful clue.

Oz said...

Morningstar Farms have been doing this since the 70's. They were originally designed to be vegetarian.
They tasted much better when I was a kid before they got bought out by Kellog.

I've noticed over the years some vegan friendly products were added and some formulas changed also as such.

They should provide vegan griller crumbles as well like they do with the patties rather than try to make both sides happy with one product which will fail miserably.