The One Thing Major Grocery Stores Are Starting to Ban
This controversial product may be hard to find now.
There was a time when your milk options at the grocery store were fairly limited, but the past several decades have brought in an influx of choices, and now a wide variety of milks—rice, oat, coconut, and soy—are all at your fingertips. If you've come to rely on a particular brand, however, you might soon find yourself disappointed. Grocery stores across the country have started to ban products from one company following major backlash from activists. Read on to find out which item is disappearing from store shelves.
Kroger just banned Chaokoh coconut milk.
On June 17, Kroger pledged to stop selling products from the coconut milk brand Chaokoh, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) told USA Today. The supermarket chain said it will drop all products from the brand once it finishes selling through its existing inventory. Per the news outlet, this is a major move because Kroger is the nation's largest grocery chain, with regional supermarket chains in 35 states, including Fred Meyer, Harris Teeter, Ralphs, Mariano's, Fry's, Smith's, King Soopers, and QFC.
Other major chains have already dropped the brand.
Kroger is not the first grocery store to ban the sell of Chaokoh coconut milk. According to USA Today, both Costco and Wegmans dropped the brand's products in fall of last year. Target, Walgreens, Food Lion, Giant Food and Stop & Shop have also banned the brand. You can still find Chaokoh products at other retailers, however: As of June 17, Chaokoh coconut milk is still available to order on both Amazon and Walmart's websites.
PETA says the brand uses cruel practices against monkeys.
According to USA Today, PETA has been pushing stores to stop selling coconut milk from Chaokoh since 2019. PETA says monkeys in Thailand are "kept chained, abusively trained, and forced to climb trees to pick coconuts," and that Chaokoh is just one brand that sells coconut products made using forced monkey labor.
"Every can of coconut milk purchased from Chaokoh represents the misery of a chained-up monkey," PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said in a statement to USA Today. "Any grocery store still buying from this brand after PETA's exposés of coconut cruelty risks losing compassionate shoppers, so Kroger made the right call."
Chaokoh's manufacturer says this claim is not true.
Theppadungporn Coconut Co. Ltd, the Thailand-based maker of Chaokoh coconut milk, told USA Today in Oct. 2o20 that it had audited its coconut plantations using a third party. Of the 64 farms out of 817 randomly selected for an audit, the maker says it "did not find the use of monkey for coconut harvesting."
"Following the recent news about the use of 'monkey labour' in Thailand's coconut industry, Chaokoh, one of the world's leaders in coconut milk production, reassures that we do not engage the use of monkey labour in our coconut plantations," the company said in a statement to USA Today.