HelloFresh uses coconut milk that comes from monkey labor in Thailand, according to allegations by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who are calling for a boycott of the food delivery service.
According to a PETA Asia investigation, monkeys are chained, flogged, beaten and forced to pick coconuts for hours. Animal abuse lawsuits have been filed against 57 farms in nine provinces of Thailand, according to findings released on Monday.
In a statement to CBS MoneyWatch, HelloFresh said the company receives written assurances from its suppliers that its coconuts are not sourced with monkeys.
“HelloFresh strictly condemns any use of monkey labor in its supply chain and we take a hard position not to source or sell coconut products that have used monkey labor from suppliers. We have written acknowledgment from all of our suppliers – in the US and worldwide – that they do not engage in these practices.
Brokers for HelloFresh’s coconut milk suppliers showed PETA the monkeys, chained to car tires at trash-strewn patches and flooded areas, as their only refuge, according to the animal rights group, which released photos of their investigation as well as video footage.
Most monkeys are abducted from their families in the wild, although the species exploited by the coconut trade are threatened or endangered, according to the animal protection group.
“Monkeys are chained around their necks and forced to toil day in and day out, all for HelloFresh and other companies that have no conscience,” PETA executive vice president Tracy Reiman claimed in an emailed statement Monday. “PETA is urging everyone, including HelloFresh, to stop buying canned coconut milk from Thailand until the money is no longer used and misused for profit.”
The Berlin based company has a global reach and is based in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the USA employed
The company had 7.5 million active customers in the third quarter, a three-month period in which the company generated more than $1.9 billion in revenue, it said last month.
PETA has for years urged companies and people not to buy canned coconut milk products made in Thailand amid abuse allegations. The group received such a commitment in 2020 US grocery brands like Walgreens and Stop & Shop.
After the results of a previous PETA investigation were released in 2019, the Thai government offered insurances that monkeys are no longer forced to pick coconuts. Among the top exporters of coconuts, Thailand exported $396 million worth of coconut milk in 2019, according to Reuters.
Thailand’s Wildlife Friends Foundation has long denounced the practice of using monkeys to pick coconuts, routinely rescuing so-called “abused coconut monkeys.” In May, the group described how a macaque was expelled to survive on its own after it was no longer useful for picking the fruit.