Vegan vigilantes defacing meat products a concern for supermarkets

Supermarkets around the country are being told to beef up security amid a wave of vigilante veganism.

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An internal memo leaked to 1 NEWS reveals supermarkets are removing products defaced with protest stickers. Source: 1 NEWS

An internal memo leaked to 1 NEWS has revealed supermarkets are removing products defaced with anti-animal product stickers despite activists saying they are not damaging the food inside.

An internal Foodstuffs email shared to 1 NEWS reveals supermarkets nationwide are increasingly targeted by the so-called “sticker protests".

The company, which owns the New World, Pak n Save and Four Square brands is instructing stores to take action, offering advice such as: checking security cameras work, consider putting more CCTV in chiller areas, increase security guard patrols and post signs warning customers of facial recognition technology.

The company has also been telling stores to remove stickered products from shelves because of concerns about health and safety as the products are being considered "tampered with".

1 NEWS contacted Foodstuffs for comment but the company didn't want to appear on camera. A spokeswoman said they were worried about copycats.

Countdown also declined an on-camera interview saying they're aware of it happening and strongly discourage it. 

The concern over copycats follows incidents in Australia last year when needles were found in supermarket strawberries.

Vegan activists here say their action is an effective way to raise awareness.

But the sticker campaign doesn't have blanket backing. The New Zealand Vegan Society says it sympathises with the stickering, considering it activism rather than vandalism. 

But police told 1 NEWS criminal charges could be laid and the leaked Foodstuffs memo suggests the supermarkets will argue it amounts to theft.