Vegetarians have been left furious over Costa Coffee’s new ‘Ultimate Christmas Toastie’ – which fails to mention on the front that it contains two meats.
Costa’s Christmas range has been in stores a little over three weeks – but customers have already complained about the sandwich’s ‘misleading’ labelling.
Among the festive snacks and drinks is a toastie labelled ‘Ultimate Christmas Toastie with sweet cranberry sauce on cheese topped bread’.
But nowhere on the toastie’s main label does it make it clear that the meal contains not just turkey slices, but also bacon.
The ‘Ultimate Christmas Toastie with sweet cranberry sauce on cheese topped bread’
The only place where the two meats are disclosed is in the ingredients list on the back of the packaging – which is removed and thrown out by staff to heat up the toastie.
And misled vegatarians are furious and complain that they have been physically sick after being lulled by this description into tucking into the toastie.
On November 11, Nazya Fiaz Tweeted a photo of the toastie from the front, after purchasing it in a Costa branch in Shipley, West Yorks.
Nazya wrote: ‘Major labelling issues. This toastie had turkey slices! However, no mention on the front packaging. Why?’
And on October 21, Tracey, from London, wrote: ‘Yesterday I stopped at my local Costa to have a light bite to eat and chose the ultimate Christmas cheese toastie.
‘I was nearly sick as someone who doesn’t eat pork and found after the first bite it had bacon and turkey in. Totally ruined my experience. Not happy.’
Tracey then added: ‘It’s all about the information, nothing on the front of packaging letting the consumer know what meat was in the product.’
And Drew White also Tweeted a photo of the toastie’s front label, writing: ‘Something missing from this description, I feel.
‘There’s no mention of turkey. Surely they’d mention turkey on the package?’
Costa has replied to a number of Tweets apologising for any ‘confusion’, and saying the fridge labels had been update to clearly highlight that the toastie contains meat.
But Tracey added: ‘What is Costa Coffee going to do about it? Just saying sorry is not acceptable.’
And despite Costa Coffee saying they have updated their fridge labels, this not yet appeared in all stores.
A general view of a Costa Store in Pinner, Middlesex. The chain has been slammed online
One customer was left physically throwing up after visiting a branch in Shepton Mallett, Somerset, earlier this week, and buying the toastie.
The customer claims she assumed it was a cranberry and cheese toastie as stated on the packaging.
She said: ‘I look forward to the festive range and I looked through to find one without meat. The cheese and cranberry one looked good and I had it heated up.
‘It tasted a little odd, but I assumed there was a sauce or chutney included which was not disclosed.
‘I have been a vegetarian for over 11 years and didn’t even think it could be meat. I have little memory of what it tastes like.
‘Eventually it dawned on me that something was wrong and I went back to the fridge to check.’
She added: ‘The fridge label had no mention of meat but when I picked up one of the toasties and decided to check the ingredients, I felt sick.
‘There is a reason I stopped eating meat and knowing that I ate even just a bit of it made me feel uncomfortable.
‘I couldn’t get my head around it. All I could taste and smell was the toastie, which I now knew was meat.
‘When I told the barista who served me, he said it wasn’t the first time and that he had raised it with the manager.
‘He said he often even points it out to customers because he agreed it was misleading.
‘Later that night I was sick for about four hours. After so many years, my stomach obviously did not agree with it and I felt awful all night.’
A spokesman for Costa said: ‘This product is clearly labelled and states on the back of the pack and on the fridge display that the toastie contains turkey and pork.
‘All our pre-packaged food contains nutritional information, including allergens, and our fridge labels reference products that are suitable for vegetarians.
‘All product information is available online and in store.
‘We would always encourage customers that are unsure to have a discussion with a member of the store team, who will have been advised on how to help customers make informed choices.’