Walkers Crisps will lose customers with their move to use real meat in smoky bacon and roast chicken crisps, according to Altrincham’s Vegetarian Society.
The national charity was informed by Walkers of the change in January, ahead of the gradual drip feed of stock into stores nationwide.
Gary Lineker will front a new advertising campaign to boast of the new recipes, but the Vegetarian Society’s Su Taylor said the move is not welcomed.
“They seemed to be very popular as they were so I think they’ll lose quite a few customers from the move,” she said.
“It’s disappointing and a backwards step, there is no real need for a snack food like crisps to have meat in.”
There has been a backlash from the vegetarian community in the wake of the news, as Walkers re-launch their range of crisps with home-grown ingredients.
And while the prawn cocktail flavour remains suitable for vegetarians, Ms Taylor said the move is not justifiable.
“Not if it involves killing animals,” she added.
“We’ve had lots of comments on our social media sites, some have said they wouldn’t eat them anyway as they didn’t realise they were veggie.
“But there’s been a lot more saying they won’t be buying anything else from Walkers.”
And posters on the forum veggieviews.com have supported Ms Taylor’s claims, questioning the crisp giant’s move to real meat.
“That’s awful. Hardly any crisps are non-vegetarian and I seriously don’t think omnis [meat eaters] care,” said one user.
The re-launched flavours see ‘free-range chicken’ and ‘RSPCA Freedom Food pork’ used to make the crisps, but another poster questions the need for real meat.
“This sucks, think about all the extra meat required for what amounts to a minuscule amount in a pack of crisps that nobody is going to notice,” they said.
“Admittedly it does make a lot of sense to have the foodstuff the crisps are meant to be the flavour of in the crisps.
“If it were tomato flavour crisps I’d think it were a step in the right direction.”
However not everyone was angered by the move. One vegetarian agreed that it was a step in the right direction for Walkers and crisps in general.
“At the end of the day they are called ‘smoky bacon’ so I’m not sure what veggies are doing eating them anyway,” the anonymous forum user said.
“And besides, it is better they are using real meat to create the flavour than tons of artificial ingredients. These veggie-secretly-loving-meat eaters need to get over it.”