Poundland has come under fire for selling peanut-based chocolates called ‘Nutters’.
The sweets are available to purchase in Poundland stores and online and, according to the retailer, they have been a “customer favourite over the last 12 months”.
But MP Norman Lamb, who has previously spoken about his sister’s suicide and his son’s struggle with obsessive compulsive disorder, has demanded that the product is removed from sale.
Meanwhile a leading mental health charity told HuffPost UK such products risk “perpetuating tired stereotypes” and could undo positive steps made to reduce mental health stigma.
Speaking to the Sun about the Poundland chocolates, MP Norman Lamb said: “There is a stigma attached to mental health and we need to be careful about the way we talk about it.
“The product needs to be quickly withdrawn from sale and Poundland needs to apologise.”
While Dr Sophie Dix, from the charity MQ: Transforming Mental Health, said: “Such offensive language and distressing imagery is a real step backwards.”
Speaking to HuffPost UK, Cal Strode, a spokesperson for the Mental Health Foundation agreed that “Poundland made a mistake” in putting the product on sale.
“It’s unlikely they intended to make a gimmick out of mental health as the design is almost identical for their ‘Choccers product’, though their poor choice of naming and packaging undoubtedly leaves a bad taste for many,” he said.
“We’ve come a long way in challenging everyday mental health stigma, companies have played a positive part in this, and so it’s important not to undo any of this work by perpetuating tired stereotypes just to market a product.”
In a statement given to HuffPost UK, a spokesperson from Poundland said ‘Nutters’ chocolates are best-sellers.
“These chocolate-covered nuts have been a customer favourite over the last 12 months and that popularity suggests it hasn’t caused offence to them,” they said.
“However we listen to feedback, wherever it comes from, and we’ve already promised to assess this line at its next formal review.”
Useful websites and helplines:
- Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
- Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
- Get Connected is a free advice service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org