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Jun 14, 2006
Focus: Consumer Rights
Action Request: Protest
Location: United States

Linda McCartney's vegetarian food range could soon become the latest ethical business to sell out to Nestlé, one of the most boycotted companies in the world.

The ready meals brand, which was launched by Sir Paul McCartney's first wife 15 years ago, has been put up for sale by its owner, Heinz.

Heinz is understood to be in talks with the Israel-based vegetarian food company Tivall, which is partly owned by Nestlé.

If the sale goes ahead it would be the second blow to Britain's ethical consumers within a few weeks.

Last month Dame Anita Roddick, the founder of The Body Shop, was criticised for agreeing to sell the company to L'Oréal, which is also partly owned by Nestlé.

Nestlé and Heinz are declining to comment on the sale, but a spokesman for Heinz said: "We continue to explore options to maximise the value of the frozen food business."

Linda McCartney, who died from breast cancer in 1998, was a committed vegetarian.

Her range of meat-free meals was an instant success on its launch in 1991 and quickly became the market leader.

Heinz won the licence to produce the range when it bought United Biscuits Frozen and Chilled Foods in 1998.

However, the fashion for fresh food has hit demand in the frozen market.

Heinz has been keen to sell off the division for some time. Last September, Heinz put its frozen food business, including the Linda McCartney range, on the market for around £200 million.

Tivall, which is based in northern Israel, makes most of the own-label vegetarian frozen meals for Tesco, Sainsbury, Asda and Morrisons.

It is a subsidiary of the Israeli food company Osem - in which Nestlé owns a 50.1 per cent stake.

Nestlé is one of the most boycotted companies in the UK.

Campaigners have claimed Nestlé is responsible for the "aggressive'' marketing of baby foods and powdered baby milk in the developing world and undermines the benefits of breast-feeding.

Nestlé denies aggressive marketing and insists it follows international guidelines on selling food and milk for babies.

Helen Middleton, from the Ethical Consumer magazine, said multinational companies were increasingly looking to adopt "green" brands that give them respectability.

"It is very difficult for the vast majority of consumers to keep on top of the ever-changing purchases and developments in the business world," she said.

According to a survey by YouGov, The Body Shop's reputation suffered after it was bought by L'Oréal in March for £652 million.

The Body Shop built up much of its customer base on the back of its opposition to animal testing.

L'Oréal, however, still uses ingredients that have been tested on animals "for safety reasons".

27 May 2002: Authors quit Hay-on-Wye festival over Nestlé links
8 June 2001: Roddick to make £43m from sale of Body Shop
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Posted: Jun 14, 2006 10:57am
Dec 3, 2005
Healthy eating, sea to sky
NUTRISPEAK by Vesanto Melina MS, RD

For many of us, winter heralds the pleasure of travel. For some, it is the best season to visit exotic locations and escape from the cold and rain. For others, it’s an opportunity to reconnect with distant family members. Work-related projects recently took me to California and Barcelona, Spain, and this month’s column was inspired by KLM’s strict vegetarian meal, served on my return flight via Amsterdam.
My dinner consisted of roasted eggplant in a delicious sauce, couscous with currants and coriander, a diced beet salad with endive, and fresh fruit slices (pineapple, grapefruit, and kiwi) with a fruit sauce for dessert. Not bad for an airline.
Whether you are a vegetarian, vegan, or raw food enthusiast, or you have food sensitivities, or you simply want to enjoy healthy meals during your travels, a little pre-planning will help you meet your food requirements, wherever you go. Here are some pointers:
1. Specify food preferences in advance
Pack your own healthy lunch for short flights; on longer flights, most airlines offer a meal service that caters to special needs. You can request several types of vegetarian diets and order an appropriate meal for your food sensitivities. Whether you are travelling by train, plane, or cruise ship, discuss food restrictions when you book your journey. You will often be pleasantly surprised at how well these companies take care of you.
2. Research the internet
Conduct some internet research to find food establishments along your travel route and at your destination. Vegetarian restaurants typically serve meals that are free of fish, dairy, eggs, animal products, and gluten-free grains. These establishments can accommodate a wide variety of health conditions, including diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic diseases. Visit,, and, and also check out some sites related to food allergies.
Before you arrive you may wish to contact restaurants , via phone or email, to explain your limitations and to ask whether they are equipped to accommodate your needs.
3. Check out the food guides
The Vegetarian Journal’s Guide to Natural Food Restaurants in the U.S. and Canada is handy during road trips ( For information about vegetarian restaurants in Europe, visit Our books, Becoming Vegetarian, Becoming Vegan, and Raising Vegetarian Children all include travel sections, as does the Food Allergy Survival Guide. (Available at Banyen, Chapters, and
4. Pack some containers
It can be immensely helpful to purchase a few spill-proof containers in suitable sizes for a serving of vegetable or bean salad, hummus, salad dressing, nut butters, or a non-dairy beverage to round out the foods available enroute. You may want to bring a plastic fork and spoon. (To my amusement, in the wake of increased airline security since 9/11, I once had my small, plastic fork confiscated before boarding a Hawaiian airliner, after which the airline supplied me with an identical plastic fork for its in-flight snack.)
Certain foods pack well for travel. Combine your favourite nuts and dried fruits to create a nourishing, and even exotic, trail mix. Bring small packages of non-dairy milk, although cereals, granola, and muesli also taste good with fruit juice. You’ll find delicious, fresh juices in airports throughout Europe and even in the departures area of our own Vancouver airport. For a protein boost, reconstitute individual portions of instant soup mix (black bean, lentil, or curry) with hot water. Mix ready-to-eat tofu with a little seasoning and chopped, raw veggies to make a dip or sandwich filling. When food foraging is challenging, add a multivitamin mineral supplement.
5. Plan your exercise program
Fitness profoundly affects how we feel, so it’s wise to include it in your plans. When I travel as a speaker or am visiting, I advise my hosts that I prefer to include an hour of exercise every day; I inquire about the proximity of beautiful parks, swimming pools, and recreational facilities. Fitness becomes a rich and integral part of our itinerary. In Barcelona, in addition to visiting a Gaudi park, we toured an interactive playground with an immense xylophone that allowed children and adults to leap from note to note, teeter-totters that triggered fountain sprays, and unique merry-go-rounds.
Travel in good health and bon voyage.
Vesanto Melina is a BC-based registered dietitian and author of a number of best-selling books about food and nutrition. For personal consultations, call 604-888-8325 (Fort Integrated Health Clinic) or 604-882-6782 (home office, near Fort Langley).
For issues related to factory farming, see the University of Toronto’s Coalition of Animal Rights and the Environment (CARE) website:
For facts about free-range poultry, see
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Posted: Dec 3, 2005 11:46am


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