Masterfoods – Will the Sinners Sin?

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Mars Chocolates are a household name

Masterfoods switched from a vegetarian rennet substitute to natural rennet in its products on May 1, 2007. All their chocolate products including Mars Bars, Bounty, Snickers, Twix and Minstrels which have the “best before date” of after 1 October 2007 are no longer suitable for vegetarians. This also affects many Muslims, Jews and people of other religions or organisations who do not eat meat which have not been slaughtered in a certain way, as well as Hindus. Read more at bbc website.

So what is this “Rennet“? It is a natural complex of enzymes produced in any mammalian stomach to digest the mother’s milk. Rennet contains a proteolytic enzyme (protease) that coagulates the milk, causing it to separate into solids (curds) and liquid (whey). Worldwide there is also no industrial production for vegetable rennet; the previous ingredient for Mars products.

The primary motivation behind this move is cost optimization for the confectionary giant. Though production of animal rennet is expensive however the yielf of animal rennet is far greater than vegetable rennet i.e. 1:15,000 (1 kg of rennet would have the ability to coagulate 15,000 litres of milk). About losing the sensitive market, well, for now the net result is still highly increased profit margin and the over-whelming sales share goes to the non-sensitive segemnt i.e. the Europe and Americas. Even within the sensitive segment, due to the skimming focus of the product i.e. costing Rs.35/bar in Pakistan, the relevant segment is by majority de-sensitised (westernized!) to the strictest concept of HALAL. Especially when it is something invisible and a very small component of the product. Therefore reduced losses in the sensitive segment as well. As far as vegetarians are concerned they were never in majority and are not increasing competitively. Foremost! Chocolate is a Sin and Sinners shall Sin!

I say a darn “sinful” (read Wise) business strategy!

Facebook comments:


  • Thanks for the updates. Btw does this mean most of the imported products are not halal?

  • I know that Red Bull also has a non-halal component.

    I might be wrong, but I dont think there is any body in the govt that is looking at / checking / regulating the items that are imported into Pakistan to deem them fit for consumption.

  • Kashif we need to do our own investigation for these products. if they are coming our of pakistan i would advice to take a look are the ingredients before consumption. Osama is right there is no body checking these things.

  • Yup nobody checkin

  • Muhammad Asif Razzaque

    All the imported food products can not be declared non-halal. However MasterFoods products containing rennet, that includes most of the dairy driven range especially solids like chocolate, curds etc, may be abstained from.

    Reading ingredients or looking for any non-Halal declarations may not be sufficient for two reasons:

    1. Compounded Sub-ingredients: A compound ingredient may have sub-ingredients that may be non-halal but the title of the compound will not reveal that to the general consumer except if one is an expert chemist or a food technologist. Even these experts shall require lab-test the samples.
    2. Zero-Liability for Declaration: Since most of the imported food products, especially the confectionary and impulse range, are brought in by traders, distributors or owners of large grocery stores through containers. These sources simply go to the respective intl. market and buy off the shelves of the wholesales/distributors. They do not have any official licensing from the actual manufacturer. Therefore the manufacturing company has no liability to make any region, culture, religion specific declarations or “Halal Stamps” on the casually imported products. These casual imports were never intended by the manufacturer to be exported to such specific regions.

    The best practice would be to purchase locally manufactured goods or such imports that have active declaration of Halal on the packaging.

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