Forever 21 has drawn the ire of plus-sized customers after including Atkins diet bars in its online shopping orders.
Customers of the fast-fashion retailer recently found samples of the famed nutrition bars included with their merchandise in online orders. The Atkins diet, created by cardiologist Dr. Robert Atkins, is a low-carb diet and weight-loss plan, and the crispy, lemon-flavoured bars sent to customers are touted as low-calorie, high-protein snacks.
Forever 21 says it typically includes samples of products from third-party companies with which it is affiliated in online orders. Although the company says the diet bars were sent to all customers — not just those who are plus-sized — some did not respond well to the surprise.
Twitter users took to social media to condemn the company, calling the act a “trigger” for those who struggle with eating disorders.
The plus-sized community says it is often disparaged and ignored by an industry that scarcely caters to its needs. The community has expressed grief over an inability to find adequate clothing from companies that market to petite women.
In 2018, former reality TV actress Roxy Earle created a plus-size fashion line in collaboration with Le Chateau after she noticed what she believed was a lack of inclusivity in the fashion industry. According to Statista, in 2017 plus-sized fashion generated nearly $1.71 billion dollars in sales in Canada.
In a statement, Forever 21 apologized for the gaffe.
“From time to time, Forever 21 surprises our customers with free test products from third parties in their e-commerce orders. The freebie items in question were included in all online orders, across all sizes and categories, for a limited time and have since been removed,” the statement explained.
“This was an oversight on our part, and we sincerely apologize for any offence this may have caused to our customers, as this was not our intention in any way.”
Others suggest the situation has been blown out of proportion and is far from an act of fat-shaming, saying it was merely poor judgement on the part of Forever 21.
Some argue the bars were protein-based and not diet bars.