Vegans 'disgusted' after Urban Outfitters labelled sweets wrong

Disgusted shoppers claim they ‘nearly vomited’ after spotting Urban Outfitters selling sweets labelled vegan that contain PORK and BEEF gelatine

  • Urban Outfitters appeared to list three ‘vegan’ type of gummy sweets on website
  • Despite this, they each have animal-laden ingredients listed in the small print 
  • While some angry customers slammed shop online, others emailed complaints 

‘Disgusted’ vegans claim they ‘nearly vomited’ after discovering Urban Outfitters flogging sweets labelled vegan – when they contain pork and beef gelatine.

The lifestyle brand appeared to list three different types of gummy sweets on their websites with ‘vegan’ explicitly in their title despite the animal-laden ingredients being listed in the small print below.

The chain’s high street stores also added to the confusion as photos emerged of the same treats being sold alongside other vegan products in their Manchester store, leaving customers ‘confused’.

Angry customers slammed Urban Outfitters online while others emailed complaints – prompting the brand to pass the issue on to their ‘escalations team’ and relabel the products on their website.

‘Disgusted’ vegans claim they ‘nearly vomited’ after discovering Urban Outfitters flogging sweets labelled vegan – when they contain pork and beef gelatine. Pictured, the sweets on display in Urban Outfitters’ Market Street store in Manchester

The lifestyle brand appeared to list three different types of ‘vegan’ gummy sweets on their websites – despite the animal-laden ingredients being listed in the small print. Pictured, more sweets on display in Urban Outfitters’ Market Street store in Manchester

Emily Sharp, 20, Tweeted complaining to Urban Outfitters about the mislabelled sweets on its website

However vegan Jessica Bedford, 22, from Manchester, who complained to the company on Saturday, February 15 to point out the error, said just seeing the sweets listed as vegan had left her feeling sick.

She says when she didn’t hear back from the chain she instead reported them to Trading Standards the following day.

The chewy snacks are made by sweets firm The Treat Kitchen, who clearly label the ingredients on the products and do not list them as vegan – prompting shoppers to lay the blame for the confusion at Urban Outfitters’ door.

‘It’s disgusting,’ explained Jessica. ‘Somebody said they got them over Christmas and they ate them, and I was nearly vomiting reading that. You’d be devastated. What kind of a dumb a**e wrote that, though.’

Pictured, the supposed ‘vegan’ sweets on display in Urban Outfitters’ Market Street store in Manchester

One of the sweet products displayed on Urban Outfitters’ website labelled vegan but with ingredients that show it contains animal products (pictured)

Jessica Bedford (pictured), 22, from Manchester, complained to the company on Saturday, February 15 to point out the error – and said just seeing the sweets listed as vegan had left her feeling sick

‘Like seriously, writing vegan, putting vegan in the description and then continuing to write the ingredients list which has pork and beef gelatine in it, like what?

‘Fair enough if it was a small company who hadn’t noticed they’d put beeswax in it, but not Urban Outfitters and f***ing gelatine.

‘I don’t understand how they are getting away with this, it’s appalling.’

The term has since been removed from the products’ titles but Jessica fears customers who have bought the sweets believing them to be vegan might not have been contacted to highlight the blunder.

Urban Outfitters sell products made by sweets firm The Treat Kitchen in-store and online, and it was their ‘message bottles’ filled with chewy sweets that appeared to be wrongly described on Urban Outfitters’ website.

The ‘Vegan Good Egg Gummies’ contain pork gelatine, the ‘Vegan Banana Gummies’ have beef gelatine in them and the ‘Luv Ya Vegan Heart Gummies’ include gelatine too.

Kieren Igoe (pictured), 21, who studies at Leeds university, was so outraged by the error that he tweeted Urban Outfitters to confront them

An angry Kieren penned: ‘@Urbanoutfitters would you care to explain why you are labelling sweets on your website as vegan when they have beef and pork gelatine in??’

Kieren (pictured) added: ‘If it was milk or eggs it would be a bigger thing because it’s linked to allergies, but because it’s vegan it goes under people’s radars and they think they can get away with it’

Each of the products’ descriptions had ‘vegan made’ written directly above the ingredients list, despite them including animal-based gelatine.

Urban Outfitters removed all three items from their site on Monday, February 17 and have since re-uploaded some of them with the vegan labelling.

After discovering the sweets for sale, Jessica shared screenshots of the apparent error on social media to warn others.

Jessica, who works in catering herself, then complained to Urban Outfitters via email and social media.

Her email read: ‘Been looking at Vegan sweets on your website, but looking at the ingredients some contain beef and pork gelatine?! This is surely misrepresentation and can’t be allowed??

‘Vegans could easily eat this without realising, they’re not even vegetarian!!’

She then contacted trading standards on Sunday, February 16 after having not yet heard back from Urban Outfitters.

Urban Outfitters finally responded to her on Tuesday. Their email said: ‘Our escalations team have informed us that the sweets have been taken down until this is further investigated and an accurate representation of the sweets is updated.’

Jessica isn’t satisfied with the way the company has dealt with the situation and believes they should have publicly raised awareness of their error.

‘I think they should have put something on, either a Tweet or Facebook or Instagram, just warning people and just offering a refund,’ she explained. 

Alisha Bardsley (pictured), a vegan from Manchester, explained the impact eating non vegan foods can have on people with her beliefs, claiming that it could affect people’s mental health

Urban Outfitters removed all three items from their site on Monday, February 17 and have since re-uploaded some of them with the vegan labelling. Pictured, the sweets on display in Urban Outfitters’ Market Street store in Manchester

Pictured, the sweets on display in Urban Outfitters’ Market Street store in Manchester

An email exchange between Jessica and Urban Outfitters sent from her partner James’ email address

‘There’s probably people who’ve received it over Christmas thinking it’s vegan, and their grandma is probably well chuffed that they found some vegan sweets for them.

‘It’s probably still in their bedrooms somewhere and they’re still going to eat that.’

Kieren Igoe is a 21-year-old vegan who was so outraged by the error that he tweeted Urban Outfitters to confront them.

He wrote: ‘@Urbanoutfitters would you care to explain why you are labelling sweets on your website as vegan when they have beef and pork gelatine in??

‘Just a clear sign of another company jumping on the vegan bandwagon with 0 care for the meaning of the word.’

Kieren, a Leeds University student, said: ‘It angers me because it’s exploitive. They need to be careful with the words that they use within the products and to double check that when label something vegan its not got an animal derived ingredients in.

‘If it was milk or eggs it would be a bigger thing because it’s linked to allergies, but because it’s vegan it goes under people’s radars and they think they can get away with it.’

Alisha Bardsley, a vegan from Manchester, explained the impact eating non vegan foods can have on people with her beliefs, claiming that it could affect people’s mental health.

Alisha added: ‘It’s like a heartbreak. It could really affect your mental health, because it’s eating an animal you’re trying to support.’

Emily Sharp (pictured), 20, believes the incident is part of a wider problem of big companies like Urban Outfitters appealing to people’s beliefs without enough care

One of the sweet products displayed on Urban Outfitters’ website labelled vegan but with ingredients that show it contains animal products

Emily Sharp, a 20-year-old vegetarian, also tweeted Urban Outfitters. She wrote: ‘You have a range of sweets on your website you are claiming to be vegan when they include pork gelatine in their ingredients this is not okay.’

Earlier this month, Iceland recalled a number of vegan products believed to contain cheese, a non-vegan ingredient. Products included ‘No Cheese and Onion Pasties’ and a number of ‘no-cheese’ pizzas.

Emily believes the incident is part of a wider problem of big companies like Urban Outfitters appealing to people’s beliefs without enough care.

 ‘I think at the moment there are a lot of brands who are using vegetarianism and veganism as a trend, but I don’t think they understand what a vegan is or care about the beliefs behind it much,’ she explained. 

‘They have to be careful when they use the definition vegan.’

Emily says Urban Outfitters’ error has made her think twice about shopping there, and she warns other vegans to be weary.

‘Don’t put your beliefs in other people’s hands,’ she continued. ‘Take responsibility for it yourself and read the description yourself.’

Urban Outfitters, Trading Standards and The Treat Kitchen, or TTK Confectionary,  have all been contacted for comment.

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