Pret A Manger – Ready to (ch)eat
Natural… Good… Glyphosate Food”
Link to TheDrum.com article
UPDATE 29. June 2020 – SECOND class action suit against Pret on the “Natural” Food claim
(at the bottom of this page)
Even while I worked at Pret I always wondered how Pret’s claim to be certified Organic and Fair Trade regarding their coffee can even be valid. Not making any allegations, just raising questions! To get certified as being organic is super expensive for companies.
The mistake most people make, and why companies employ expensive marketing and psychology is, when looking at the signage that is being fazed out now after the class action suits on the natural claim, it says in a round logo: “Organic Coffee Natural Food”. Or now the new signs “Organic Coffee Good Food”. Clever marketing knows “eye-level, buy-level” and in most countries we read and write from left to right and from the top down. And many times I read it on Twitter especially that people recommend Pret to others as this “organic food” chain…
But even if Pret would claim to sell organic food, the ingredients that are delivered from factories every morning are PERFECT, the eggs are all the same size and often the same bleak yellow colour, the bananas are perfect etc. But Pret claims their coffee is organic, okay, we have to “swallow” that until someone can prove otherwise. I just raise the question as I know how much the coffee costs having had to do the ordering for the day-to-day running of shops. If customers knew how much it costs for Pret to produce a cup of latte, including the coffee, milk, cup, lid and labour… people would get sick at the profit margin. That’s why Pret can afford to give so many free coffees and then turn around, raise the price as someone has to pay for all the freebies. And it won’t be Pret!
On the Free Coffee marketing I write extensively on Free Coffees in Pret A Manger.
Back to the “Natural” issue. The round logo gives us the impression of “Organic Food” as our brains move automatically from left to right and top down. So, the way our brains work and the psychology these businesses apply is, we don’t read “Natural Coffee” but we read “Organic Food”. But Pret of course will say that they never claimed to have organic food, but organic coffee. They “throw” the perception back at the customer again, and I wonder if anyone is looking closer into the organic coffee claim, especially as Pret’s new owners, tax-haven Luxembourg based JAB Holdings estimated worth £28 Billion squeeze coffee farmers to sell at lower prices! HOW can Pret’s coffee then be organic?
Link to The Economist article.
Pret has been sued for their claim to be natural while the food contains glyphosate for which the mighty Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, currently has more than 13,000 lawsuits on their neck. With three major lawsuits lost in the billions, due to denial that their main product Roundup causes cancer, which has not had a warning label on the product. Bayer upon purchasing Monsanto in 2018 set aside $250 Million for the expected lawsuits, but has bitten out a bigger chunk than they can chew in legal bills, and the shares have tumbled towards the basement since the verdicts. Bayer never expected that the jury would now draw the line, as the fake laboratory tests Monsanto conducted saying that Roundup is safe, coming to light. But that’s another story altogether.
So, if the public has been paying attention regarding Pret’s signage, I have seen it more lately even in London that Pret signs are changing due to the successful vs. “natural” claim lawsuits. More and more it says “Organic Coffee Good Food” now. How about changing it to “Organic Coffee Labelled Food”!!
From the above familiar signage where the “natural” is now being replaced with “good”.
Even on Pret.com, the word “natural” seems to have completely disappeared.
Link to Pret USA Twitter as the U.S. shops have to act fast
A customer on Twitter posted the below pictures confused on why the word “natural” was covered over at LAX airport that is getting ready for its first Pret on the West Coast, as JAB / Reimanns are on a mission to expand fast, trying to restore Pret’s reputation and divert from all the scandals, especially the TWO customer deaths. They divert with swamping first airports and busy train stations in new areas. In the U.S. Pret has to act on the “natural” signage while in the UK everything is lenient again.
Two customers died from hidden allergen in Pret products, a third nearly fatal, several hospitalized and Pret did not act after numerous warnings before and even after the deaths occurred. Pret only started acting slowly after the deaths became public.
Same with the “natural” food claim.
Link to David Blumenstein’s Tweet
Link to Daily Mail article
And from TheDrum.com article, quote: “Pret A Manger has been told by the ASA that it must “not claim or imply that its food was ‘natural’, unless its products and ingredients were in line with consumer expectations of the term ‘natural.”
June 2020 New Classaction in NY. Barton v Pret on the natural claim. Full 2020 Court document.
March 2019: Cunningham v Pret. Full 2019 Court document.
The court document lists all the chemicals Pret is sued for while claiming to have natural food. Scrolling down to the list of chemicals in Pret food, same with the 2020 document.
From page 10 onward in the 2019 document are listed:
Diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides
Mono- and diglycerides
UPDATE: 10. Dec. 2019
Well, let’s add sulphites to the list
Now it makes sense why Pret never wanted to label their products, even after numerous complaints and warnings regarding the allergen issues, and even after TWO customers died of hidden allergen in products. Pret only acted when customer deaths became public! But avoiding labelling Pret’s “natural” food is because it is LOADED with chemicals!
And the current update is that Pret’s argument to get the case thrown out is, in a nutshell: We tell people that our food is natural, but they should know that it’s not natural. 😀
“September 13, 2019
- Pret A Manger Looks To End $5M Suit Over ‘Natural’ Label Pret A Manger has again asked a New York federal court to toss a $5 million proposed class action that claims the sandwich chain’s “natural” label is misleading because its products contain GMOs, saying its customers know that no processed food is completely free of synthetic ingredients.” 😀
Wow! A yes isn’t a yes, and a no isn’t a no! If the Judge buys that, oh my, Justin K Small in above Tweet certainly is pissed off!
But this reminds me of a Trainer in Head Office when I went for my Team Leader courses and after we inquired about the healthy image Pret presents. The Trainer gave us a crash course in the calories in products, with the Posh Cheddar being the product with the highest calories, he then said with a smirk that customers make decisions if and how much of those items they consume. In other words, even with all the high in salt, high in calories, high in fat products, well if the customer chooses to eat it, it’s up to them. It was a good peek into Pret’s real mentality behind that natural, healthy and smiley facade.
So, with the natural claim, in a nutshell Pret is saying:
“Hey you stupid customer, we tell you that our food is natural, but you need to be smart enough to know that it isn’t. And if you choose to swallow the natural claim, well, that’s your decision!”
Ready to Cheat
“Processed food” ~ vs. ~ “Lovingly” handmade psychology?
“Processed food” ~ vs ~ “Freshly prepared” and ‘made’ vs ‘prepared’ psychology
UPDATE 29. June 2020 – SECOND class action suit against Pret on the “Natural” Food claim
Link to Top Class Actions article
I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.
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