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Chocolaty Bewilderment

Mars starts using animal products

OK, some companies use animal rennet in chocolate, that's just the way things are.

However, Mars has been successfully making these products without, so why change? Surely vegetarian alternatives aren't that difficult to source? I'm utterly confused as to why they'd want to do this.

Oh well, guess I won't be eating any of those anymore then.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
16th May, 2007 12:41 (UTC)
It's probably a lot cheaper, I guess, which is why they do it. Lot's of left over animal parts from cheap burgers?
16th May, 2007 13:36 (UTC)
Re: Cheaper?
Surely they'd use pretty much all of the stomach to produce cheap burgers anyway?

I've no idea about the relative prices of vegetarian and non-vegetarian rennet. However, a large proportion of the cheeses in the supermarkets nowadays seem to be vegetarian (including the economy ones), so I wouldn't have thought there could be that much in it.

As far as I understand it, whey is a by-product of the cheese industry anyway, the rennet being used when curdling the milk to separate the curds and whey. If more of the cheeses hitting the shelves are vegetarian then surely there must be a greater proportion vegetarian whey available?
16th May, 2007 14:48 (UTC)
Re: Cheaper?
I don't know much about it, you take some calves stomach, add some chemicals and out comes some rennet.

For me it doesn't really matter much: I eat meat, and don't actually buy that much chocolate, but it does seem a strange decision- presumably chocolate sales are going to drop by the one percent or people that are vegetarian and care enough, and I can't imagine the cost of rennet being 1 percent of a chocolate bar. But I'm sure the boffins at masterfoods are just responding to economics. Maybe there's so much demand for vegetarian stuff in cheese that the price of vegetarian rennet is too expensive, and they're giving away the cow stuff?

16th May, 2007 16:36 (UTC)
Re: Cheaper?
Rennet is inside the stomach of the calf; it comes out in the tripe, I think. Nobody eats tripe anymore, so it is probably a lot cheaper than vegetarian rennet produced by patented GM bacteria.
16th May, 2007 17:50 (UTC)
Re: Cheaper?
Doesn't an awful lot of the tripe produced nowadays go into Dog food? Although given the amount of beef we must get through as a country I'd assume they'd still be a lot left over.

Even if it is cheaper to buy non-vegetarian rennet, which it probably is, what's happening with the curds?

I'm not sure whether masterfoods make their own whey or not, but I'd imagine they'd buy it in from the dairies? At which point it's not the price of the rennet that's the concern, but the price of the whey.

A quick look at the supermarket shelves would suggest that a lot of the big brand cheeses are now vegetarian, which means there must be a lot of vegetarian whey being produced as a by-product. I don't know much about the market for whey, but surely increasing amounts of cheese going vegetarian should increase supply of vegetarian whey and bring the prices down?
16th May, 2007 19:58 (UTC)
Re: Cheaper?
My dad used to eat tripe, but it's ages since I've seen any on his plate. My grandad used to feed tripe to his dogs.
16th May, 2007 16:00 (UTC)
I would suspect that the price has been the deciding factor in this, which is a shame.

While I'm not a vegetarian myself, I am of the opinion that if something doesn't have to contain animal products then it shouldn't.
16th May, 2007 20:31 (UTC)
...dang. I thought it'd take at least until FDA Docket 2007P-0085 passed and made it legal to replace cocoa butter with shortening before I'd stop being able to buy cheap chocolate.

I like Twix bars, too!
16th May, 2007 20:54 (UTC)
British milk chocolate can already be (and normally is) made with some vegetable fats (I think it's upto about 5%) and it's still called chocolate.

I don't think we're allowed to remove the cocoa butter completely though.
17th May, 2007 06:53 (UTC)
Painted Cheese
I believe Masterfoods strategy is to replace the chocolate with painted cheese. There may be implications for the shelf life.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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