Back to Nature

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I wrote a brief note to Back to Nature (now owned by Kraft) to ask them a simple question about the derivation of the “natural flavors” in their products:

Is your Cherry Vanilla granola vegan? Everything on there looks to be except for the always-questionable “natural flavors.” Are any of these natural flavors animal-derived (including dairy, eggs, or honey)?

Their response:

Hi Ryan,

Thank you for visiting http://www.backtonaturefoods.com.

At this time, we don’t claim any BACK TO NATURE Brand products as “vegan”.

However, in the future, as we re-evaluate the labeling of our products, we may choose to list a vegan status should any of our brands qualify to carry that label.

Thanks for your inquiry about our ingredient lines.

If you haven’t done so already, please add our site to your favorites and visit us again soon!

Kim McMiller
Associate Director, Consumer Relations

For some reason, I think if Back to Nature were still a small company, the response would have been a little bit more informative.

15 Responses to “Back to Nature”

  1. selina

    dont you love it when they dont actually answer your question?

  2. Leigh

    Yikes! What a crappy answer.

  3. Mindy

    Yeah, really. How about answering the question about where the flavors are derived from? Is that so difficult?

  4. girl least likely to

    one day we might think about doing something like that, maybe. keep eating our food!

  5. Derek

    I’d guess that they do not want to make such declarations because they don’t want to have to monitor their products that closely — I imagine that it takes time to figure out what flavors are derived from and it would prevent them from ever substituting animal flavors for vegan ones. They probably just don’t want to be sued if they make a mistake. Hopefully enough people will ask that they decide it is worth putting on their label (but that seems unlikely).

  6. Ozu

    What a terrible response. I’m thinking they may source their “natural flavors” from different suppliers and may sometimes buy vegan flavors and other times not.

    If they know for certain they’re not vegan I don’t have a clue why they can’t just say that, unless they just don’t want to get in to exactly WHY they’re not vegan. Maybe there’s some flavor synthesized from some body part so nasty that even pet food companies won’t touch it.

    Or maybe it’s something as simple as they don’t want to label them vegan because they’re afraid omnis won’t buy it. Stupid I know, but I’ll bet if you sliced up some fruit and and offered it “vegan fruit salad” some omnis would turn their nose up at it just because you called it vegan.

    I remember a post somewhere about a response the poster had received from a shoe company regarding his/her inquiry as to whether they offered vegan shoes; I think it was New Balance but I’m not sure. In any case, the company replied that certain shoes were leather-free but they couldn’t guarantee that the glues they purchased were indeed animal-free so they couldn’t honestly advertise them as vegan. While I wish they would make the effort to seek out vegan glue exclusively, I thought it was good honest answer anyway.

  7. Gary

    “Please add our site to your favorites.” That was a nice touch. ;

  8. gladcow

    oh geez. in my line of work I have to contact companies often. and the big ones (and most of the little ones) almost always answer without an answer. it’s super fun.

  9. Vegan_Noodle

    That sucks, what losers….

  10. bazu

    that would be funny, if it wasn’t so sad…

  11. leila-anne

    That is one of the saddest (funniest) things I’ve ever read.
    What a bummer. Their products are so tasty, but after reading that, I can safely say I will not be buying their products…

  12. neil k

    It would be nice if there were COMPANIES that would make DELICIOUS ETHICAL PRODUCTS, companies who would not even consider usinig the natural flavor jargon… maybe one day

    I guess on many levels it is the same as it always has been : SUPPLY and DEMAND

    To eat something that you DO NOT KNOW what it is … that does not sound very good.

  13. dani b

    I don’t see why companies can’t say the ingredients so that people know what they are.

    P.S.
    Do you know of any animal-free glue?

  14. laura k.

    Just an update: I asked the same question as the one posted back in 2007 and got an identical answer (non-answer):

    Hi Laura,

    Thank you for visiting http://www.backtonaturefoods.com and for your interest in our Back To Nature products.

    At this time, we don’t claim any BACK TO NATURE Brand products as “vegan”. However, in the future, as we re-evaluate the labeling of our products, we may choose to list a vegan status should any of our brands qualify to carry that label.
    Thanks for your inquiry about our ingredient lines

    We really appreciate your product loyalty and if you haven’t done so already, please add our site to your favorites and visit us again soon!

    Kim McMiller
    Associate Director, Consumer Relations

    ~~TLXEA_20394463~~Y

    ——————————————————————

    are any of your products vegan? If so, which ones? Please provide a listing of vegan products. Thanks!

  15. Teri' S.

    I have sent them an email regarding a similar question. I do hope they will be a little more informative in their response. I’ll keep you posted.

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