Friday, May 1, 2009

VitaSoy speaks

I received a response from VitaSoy about the sneaky lanolin-derived Vitamin D3 in the purple Cali-Plus packs. You'll note that they are aresearching alternative sources - so keep reminding them that animal-derived Vitamin D is horrible, cruel, icky and unecessary!

Here is the letter in full:

Dear Rachel,

Thank you for your recent email regarding our Vitasoy Calci Plus.

Vitasoy Australia proudly manufactures all of its products in northern-Victoria from Australian-grown non-genetically modified soy beans. We constantly strive to provide our loyal customers with the highest quality Australian made soymilk, ricemilk and oatmilk, and welcome feedback on how we can improve our products.

Vitamin D has been added as it has been shown to assist with the absorption of calcium, which is important for overall bone health. We add vitamin D3, which is extracted from the lanolin in the wool of healthy and living sheep in New South Wales and Victoria. Where possible, we always try to source ingredients that are suitable for both vegetarians and vegans to ensure we provide products for our customers that choose to follow such a diet. In this case, the poor availability of vitamin D2 would have made it difficult to consistently produce and supply Vitasoy Calci-Plus, leading us to choose this source of vitamin D3.

The remainder of our Vitasoy soymilk range is suitable for both vegetarians and vegans, as is our range of ricemilk and oatmilk.

We do actively listen to our consumers, and constantly review feedback to ensure we are meeting their needs. Please be assured we are researching alternative suppliers for Vitamin D and we hope we may find a suitable source. We trust that you will continue to enjoy the range of Vitasoy products, and hope that we can fulfil your needs into the future.

Thank you for your feedback.



Consumer Enquiry Centre


I'm Philippa O said...

i wonder why there's limited availability of d2. tim's vit d tablets are vegan friendly - they don't seem to have a problem sourcing alternative forms of vit d

steph said...

Hmm interesting. Thanks for following this up! You're awesome at this letter writing stuff. :o)

Anonymous said...

I hate to say this, but I would rather choose a vendor that is at least devoted to the vegan path.

Then again, from what I see from VitaSoy, it does not look that way.

Then again, I guess it won't hurt to try and convince "whoever" in VitaSoy to change the ingredients.

But as for me, I would refuse to make any compromises, when they are easily avoided. I'm in North America, so I guess the story is different.

I hope things come into place.

Miss T said...

Thanks for your comment, Anonymous. I can't really think of any soy milk producers in Australia who are 'devoted to the vegan path'; most people like VitaSoy, Bonsoy (who are perhaps more health food friendly), or So Good - these are really the only three readily available brands. We have far fewer vegan-friendly products here (at least from what I've seen in WholeFoods!) so convincing one of the biggest and most popular suppliers of soy milk to make all its products vegan friendly would, in my opinion, be a huge gain.

I'd also love to support specifically vegan-friendly producers, but I also see the benefits in convincing other producers to see vegan products as a viable and profitable line. This would help bring vegan food products out of the depths of the health food shop and into supermarkets, cafes, milk bars, convenience stores and sandwich shops everywhere. This would raise the awareness and availability of those products and make them a visible and viable option for both producers and consumers.

I guess I don't see it as a compromise; it's more in the way of financial activism and making improvements where I can. The growing popularity of soy milk is something to be captured and capitalised on, leveraging its widespread availability to increase both sales and acceptance.

A friend of my sister's is violently allergic to dairy, and back in the 1980s her parents had to personally import entire pallets of soy milk from Asia as it was so rare here. I want to support big producers to make sure that never happens again!!

Ultimately, I want VitaSoy to think about who some of their biggest customers are, and act accordingly. I don't care if they aren't vegan themselves; I want them to know what I as their customer need and make it, and I want them to stop contributing to the wool industry. Respect my vegan dollar!

This makes me sound like a right little capitalist, doesn't it? I guess I am really; I want market forces to catapault vegan foodstuffs into the mainstream so that they can become entirely accepted and expected.

Also, as a typical Melbourne coffee-snob I am very concerned with having good quality soy milk available everywhere!

Thanks :) R

Richard Supez said...

Damn! I was just about to buy this Calci-Plus soymilk but when I saw that it doesn't specify which type of vitamin D it uses and it says that it's suitable for vegetarians without mentioning vegans, I had a feeling it was using the sheep-derived vitamin D3. To other vegans out there, you can get vitamin D from the sun. Vitamin D2 is also available online via iHerb.