New World has apologised after pitching a range of soda syrups in its online store as containing “no Chinese fruits”.
On Friday morning, the supermarket’s website listed six Soda Press Co products.
Of those, three syrups – used for making ginger ale, tonic water and a pink grapefruit drink – were described as “100 per cent traceable – no Chinese fruits in here!”
The reference to Chinese fruit was removed from the listings on Friday afternoon, but the descriptions had already been called out on social media.
* Popular eatery Monsoon Poon not planning name change despite criticism
* Popular eatery Monsoon Poon to remove ‘racist’ slogan from footpath
* Top summer cocktails in Christchurch
“I never knew fruit grown in China was inherently bad. Seems like a questionable selling point,” one person posted on Reddit.
“Yeah, seems off to me. Don’t know why they need to mention a specific country,” another said.
New World owner, Foodstuffs NZ, said the product description information had been provided by the supplier via an automated process.
“As soon as we became aware of an issue with the description we took immediate steps and the description has been updated,” spokeswoman Emma Wooster said.
“We are working with the supplier to ensure future product information is updated. We sincerely apologise for any offence that may have been caused,” Wooster said.
Soda Press Co “soda boss” Cameron Romeril said the statement had been added to some bottles in response to concerns over illness linked to fruit imported from China five years ago.
The company had been “hounded” by retailers and consumers wanting to know if its products contained Chinese fruit, he said.
“We like many other New Zealand brands at the time had a health and safety duty to advise consumers that the product did not contain fruits from that region. How this is perceived as racist, I am gobsmacked.
”There was a short run of bottles that had this statement some five years ago while the topic was in the media. It was a benign issue then, it’s a benign issue now.”
Romeril said New World would be asked to remove the statement.
© 2021 Stuff Limited