Who would have thought it - the veggie voice is becoming ever-more vociferous and the industry seems to be running scared.

Maybe it was facing the possibilty of a vegetarian outcry that prompted Walkers to reformulate a flavour of crisps so that it was vegetarian-friendly - before the product had even hit the market.

Perhaps it was the fear of a similar backlash to that felt earlier this year at Mars UK, which received 6,000 complaints when it decided to switch from a synthetic rennet to a meat alternative in its chocolate bars.

Whatever the reasons behind Walkers' decision, it is to be applauded for pre-empting a possible PR disaster.

Tesco and Unilever's vision of the future of retailing (see p28) includes falling consumer trust and rising suspicion of big business. Whatever the future, Mars and Walkers have proved that companies are sometimes willing to let the little people make a big difference.

Meanwhile there is little doubt the vegetarian voice grows ever stronger, and manufacturers are being forced to listen.