Percy-gate: the aftermath of the new veg-friendly Percy Pig recipe
Philip Mansbridge May 2, 2019
As always, there’s a lot going on in the UK right now – many good things, and many bad things, but this week one news item is taking a whole lot of column inches…. ‘Percy-gate’.
For those who haven’t heard, retailer Marks and Spencers, have changed the ingredients of one of their most popular sweets, a real nation’s favourite – Percy Pigs. And there’s outrage across the press and across social media!
But they haven’t removed the flavouring, nor the sugar – all they’ve done is remove the Pork Gelatine. For me, as someone who doesn’t eat meat, the thought of (according to Wikipedia) ‘a translucent, colourless, flavourless food ingredient, derived from collagen taken from animal body parts’ in a child’s sweet doesn’t sound too good, and I would have thought that most people whether they eat meat or not, wouldn’t have found this too appealing.
But on GMTV this week, the infamous ‘anti-vegan’, TV Presenter Piers Morgan raged to a live audience about the disgraceful act of removing the gelatine in order to make these sweets suitable for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. But it’s not just him. One of the front pages of popular tabloid paper The Sun this week was titled ‘Percy Killing’ and there’s even a whole #BringBackPercy campaign on Twitter!
On GMTV, Piers admitted he’d never eaten a Percy Pig before (so unsure why he’s lamenting their ‘loss’) and stated that it was ridiculous for something that looked like a pig to not contain actual pig products. I replied on Twitter that children’s favourite Peppa Pig looks like a pig but doesn’t contain real pig, and neither does Miss Piggy!
It’s clear that the smallest of changes can be challenging for people and it’s always important that as a community focused on meat reduction we remember this. But it’s these small changes that are good for animals, the environment and people alike.
Even ignoring nostalgia and emotion, sweets just simply don’t need to contain animal products anymore, nor should they (regardless of whether they look like a pig or not) and consumers and retailers must ignore the hysteria and just think logically about our food choices.
Executive Director for ProVeg UK. Philip has extensive knowledge of plant-based food and related animal welfare issues. Philip has previously headed up leading animal welfare and conservation charities, including in the role of UK Director for at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), and Care for the Wild International, as well as working in senior positions at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, Guide Dogs and Cats Protection, and is a regular at animal and plant-based events up and down the country.