HelloFresh drops coconut milk from Thailand after Peta accused farms there of using MONKEYS as labour
The world’s leading meal kit supplier, HelloFresh, will no longer use Thai coconut milk in its packaging, the company announced Monday.
The provider was responding to a PETA campaign and investigation into the use of pig-tailed monkeys to harvest the country’s coconuts. PETA’s investigation, which began in 2019, found that a family of monkeys known as macaques was chained and brutally beaten as they spent hours picking the fruit.
According to the animal rights organization, HelloFresh was besieged with more than 100,000 emails from customers outraged by the use of monkey labor to source the milk in the meal kits.
“HelloFresh’s decision helps protect monkeys from kidnapping, chains and whipping in the coconut trade,” said PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. The group previously described monkey use as “rampant.”
“By cutting ties with Thai coconut suppliers, leaders like HelloFresh are helping PETA push the industry away from the use and abuse of monkeys, who naturally belong to their families,” added Reiman.
PETA claimed that farmers transported monkeys in “tiny cages” and took them off farms when government officials came monthly for audits. Workers also told PETA Asia that the animals were not returned to the farms in ‘the same truck’ to avoid suspicion
HelloFresh announced Monday that it would stop selling coconut milk sourced from farms that used monkey labor
The two coconut milk brands from Thailand used by HelloFresh are Aroy-D and Suree
PETA research found that there were 57 coconut harvesting operations in a total of nine provinces in Thailand.
“HelloFresh strongly condemns any use of monkey labor in its supply chain, and we take a hard stance not to source from suppliers or sell coconut products that have been found to use monkey labor,” HelloFresh said in a statement.
“We have written confirmation from all of our suppliers – in the US and worldwide – that they are not engaging in these practices,” the press release continued.
The two coconut milk brands from Thailand used by HelloFresh are Aroy-D and Suree.
The monkeys used on the farms were chained up, surrounded by trash, dirt and old car tires, according to PETA’s research.
One worker told the group that the average monkey spends about 10 years picking coconuts and spends the rest of its life in chains. The animals are regularly injured when picking coconuts.
The endangered monkeys are abducted from their families in the wild, PETA said.
PETA Asia investigated eight plantations in Thailand and found that ‘every farm’ abused monkeys, chained the animals and forced them to harvest coconuts
PETA research found that there were 57 coconut harvesting operations in a total of nine provinces in Thailand
The monkeys are reportedly kept on a leash and not allowed to socialize. Farmers also extract the monkeys’ fangs to render them defenseless and so they can ‘use them until they die’
The Thai government has rejected PETA’s claims about the widespread use of monkeys in coconut harvesting The protector.
Speaking to The Guardian, Vincent Nijman, an anthropology professor and head of the Oxford Wildlife Trade Research Group at Oxford Brookes University, said the practice is limited to the southernmost part of Thailand.
He also said the use of the monkeys is likely to be more common on smaller farms due to industry demands.
‘The total volume that can potentially be picked by macaques is small, especially in light of the total number of coconuts that are picked. The vast majority of coconut and coconut products do not come from pig-tailed macaque farms,” Nijman said.
According to The Guardian report, Thailand exported about 236,323 tons of coconut milk in 2021.
Walmart becomes the latest retailer to stop selling Chaokoh products after PETA sent the company more than 86,000 emails in response to an investigation into monkey abuse at coconut farms
HelloFresh joins a growing list of US retailers that have stopped selling products related to monkey labor, alongside Walmart, Costco, Target and Kroger.
British brands such as Sainsbury, Boots and Tesco have also announced bans. PETA’s campaign has drawn additional attention after it was publicly applauded by Carrie Symonds, the fiancée of then British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
A day after the ban was announced, HelloFresh on Tuesday forecast a 2023 profit that fell below analyst expectations, sending the stock down as much as 12.7 percent as fewer people order its meal kits in reopened economies and as inflation cuts household budgets .
Meal packs and meal delivery companies have been among the big winners of the pandemic lockdowns, but with food and utility bills rising and people returning to offices, they face increased marketing costs to retain customers.
The company expects the number of active customers to decline slightly in the first half of 2023 and improve again in the second half, after falling from 8 million in the third quarter to 7.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2022 from 8 million in the fourth quarter.
HelloFresh said in a media call that it would focus on controlling costs and stabilizing its customer base as it aims to increase profitability.
“Price increases are a tool in our toolbox,” Chief Executive Dominik Richter said, but added that the company aimed to keep price increases below the general level of food price inflation.
He said HelloFresh is not planning any layoffs at this time and is not providing an update on its mid-term outlook.
Video footage from PETA Asia’s studies shows monkeys being trained to twist the fruit until it snaps off the branch (pictured)
In 2019, PETA Asia visited eight coconut plantations, including the plantation where major brands source the fruit.
Videos posted to PETA’s website show monkeys on ropes claiming trees to harvest coconuts.
The animal rights organization also claims to have obtained videos designed to train the animals to kick the fruit until it spins off the branches.
PETA reopened their investigation in 2020 after alleging government officials were negligent in addressing their findings.
“The coconut industry and the Thai government are doing nothing but covering it up and possibly even quietly supporting monkey work,” PETA claimed.
The animal bureau also claimed the monkeys were “kidnapped” as babies and “fitted with stiff metal collars and chained or tied for long periods of time.”
In addition, monkeys had their ‘teeth pulled out’ and to prevent the animals from taking revenge on their handlers.
“If they don’t have teeth, we can use them until they die,” a farmer told PETA Asia.
Denied the freedom to move, interact with others or do anything else that is important to them, these intelligent animals are slowly losing their minds.
PETA Asia researchers reportedly found that plantations also hide the use of monkeys from inspectors.