Tesco's advert for vegan sausages has been branded 'propaganda' in an opinion piece published by the Daily Mail.
The article was written by journalist Janet Street-Porter, who earlier criticized the advert on daytime television program Loose Women.
The retail giant launched its ad called Carl's 'All-Change' Casserole, on the radio, TV, and posters last week.
It features a father called Carl, who reformulates his sausage casserole recipe after his young daughter comes home from school one day and says: "I don't want to eat animals anymore."
Speaking to PBN about the ad, Tesco's Head of Plant-Based Innovation, Derek Sarno, said: "The whole team wanted a food love story focusing on plant-based [food] and the new launch of Plant Chef and Wicked.
"We just recipe approved and encouraged them to be brave and keep the part when the girl says she doesn't want to eat animals. It's the best part.
"The sooner these guys realize we don't 'need' or 'have to' have animal products in our food system, the faster we'll be able to save our planet!"
But Street-Porter, who branded Sarno's job title 'ridiculous' in her piece, said: "The latest Tesco television ad campaign that accompanies this initiative is so 'woke' I felt nauseous.
"According to Plant-Based Head of Innovation Derek Sarno, the creators of the ad were 'encouraged to be brave'. Pass the sick bag! This is what modern life has come to. Chloe isn't offered an Indian or ethnic vegetarian dish from an ancient culture, but some lab-made product that is 'Cumberland-Style'.
"Anyone who cooks and enjoys real food will look at the word 'style' and understand what's behind this ad. Meat-free food that looks exactly like meat. Is that progress?"
Speaking to PBN about the opinion piece, Derek Sarno said: "Janet, I’m so glad you’ve seen the advert and feel so strongly about it, you seem like a very lovely and sweet person with a good head on your shoulders.
"Going meat-free now and again is simply amazing, I applaud you for that, sounds like you're well on your way to being vegan. Thank you Janet! And if you’re feeling nauseous I’ve got a few great plant-based recipes and dishes that can help comfort you and help you feel up to date, in this day and age.
"I love my job and what Tesco is doing to drive more plant-based options for the country. You're helping the world to see what a good decision I made in taking this 'ridiculous' position."
Vegans are Stalinists?
Street-Porter also shared her strong views on vegans in general in the piece, writing: "Militant vegans are like Stalinists. They see just two kinds of diet; a plant-based regime (which even shuns honey and avocados out of concern for bees) and the wrong regime."
She added that she finds vegan 'humorless, self-righteous bores', saying that while the number of vegans in the UK is low, they make a lot of noise.
"The success of the brainwashing campaign by a relatively small number of loud and pushy vegan activists can be measured by a hard-nosed retailer like Tesco choosing to promote vegan sausages in such a controversial way, implying shunning meat buys you love," she said.
Street-Porter also tackled the issue of how the advert has offended some farmers, who accuse it of 'demonizing meat'. In response to the ad, the National Farmers Union (NFU) published a statement saying its members had 'significant concerns with the language used within the advert and how it has caused significant distress for British Farmers'.
To date, the NFU has not specified how the advert 'demonizes' meat, with NFU member and dairy farmer Abi Reader saying she would 'not perform an autopsy' on it when asked to clarify her position yesterday on UK breakfast show Good Morning.