Do These Vegetarian Burgers Contain Fish?

About 3-4 weeks ago (February 6, 2010), I was in a Super Target store in Vernon Hills, Illinois and noticed Target had a new line of veggie burgers. It was under their own brand, Archer Farms, and being a vegetarian, I was quickly drawn to a new line of veggie burgers. I thought to myself how it would be nice to have another option when I shop there.

Being the curious type, I read over the ingredients. This was done for two reasons. One, to confirm the burgers were truly vegetarian. Two, I wanted to ensure the veggie burgers contained healthy ingredients. I can’t find too many things more frustrating than an unhealthy vegetarian dish.

It took me a minute or so to read the ingredient list for each of the 4 flavors. As I read, I noticed the one flavor, southwest, contains anchovies which I thought was interesting. Initially, I thought it was a misprint so I walked on to do more shopping. The next week, I too did my grocery shopping at Target and curiosity helped me review the ingredients again. I guess it was no surprised to see again this flavor indeed contained anchovies. At this point, I emailed Target — emphasizing that veggie burgers (being vegetarian) should not contain anchovies. I went to http://www.target.com and two Target representatives quickly addressed my concerns. Their general communication stated they were sorry for any disappointment this may have caused and they would let their Grocery team know my comments.

Yesterday, I visited the same Target store again and those southwest veggie burgers (containing anchovies) were still on the shelf. Granted, it’s only been a little over 2 weeks since my initial communication so I’ll wait and see if any action is taken.

Where does it stand now? Has this not been communicated from home office to the Vernon Hills store? If it has, why hasn’t this item been pulled from the store shelf? Does this issue require additional research before it’s communicated to the store?

I realize having a small amount of fish in a vegetarian burger may not be a big concern, but on the other hand, this could be a potential issue. If a consumer chooses this flavor with a significant fish or seafood allergy, this could be serious. Mistakes happen when developing a new product but what about during testing or reviewing new products before they are brought to market? I would like Target to be customer centric and immediately investigate my claim and pull them off the shelf immediately if my claim is accurate pending an investigation.

March 1, 2010

Kevin Schwarm

I have over 25 years of professional experience in business, information technology (IT), and customer service. Industry experience in retail, medical insurance, higher education, non-profit, financial services, and property and casualty insurance. Customer focused professional interested in providing value (save time, money and aggravation) by evaluating and analyzing information, services and products with a unique perspective.