(CNN) — Forever 21 recently shipped diet bars along with customers’ online orders. Not every customer welcomed the surprise addition to their packages.
Many people on social media called Forever 21’s diet bar shipments offensive and “fatphobic.” A number of people on social media said they received the bars along with orders of plus-sized clothing. Atkins markets the bars as low-carb snacks for weight loss.
“Bought a swimsuit online from Forever 21 and they sent me an Atkins bar along with it,” Twitter user @caileeargudo wrote. “Thank u for reminding me that I don’t have a beach ready bod.”
Forever 21, in a statement, said it sent the free diet bar samples with all orders and sizes.
“From time to time, Forever 21 surprises our customers with free test products from third parties in their e-commerce orders,” the company said. “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. This was an oversight on our part and we sincerely apologize for any offense this may have caused to our customers, as this was not our intention in any way.”
Others on social media confirmed the bars were sent with all online orders — not just to plus-size customers.
In a statement, Atkins said its products are meant to help people achieve “overall health and well being.”
“Our brand evolution is reflected in the current marketing efforts to highlight the health benefits of eating a low carb/low sugar Atkins lifestyle, with a portfolio of nutritious and delicious snacks for everyone,” the company said.
This criticism comes as diversity and inclusion — of people of all shapes, sizes and colors — has increasingly become a focus for retailers and fashion companies.
Victoria’s Secret has come under fire and lost customers for failing to cater to a wide range of customers of different sizes. Others, like Walmart and Target, have expanded their size options through investments in plus-size labels. Alienating plus-size consumers could also mean missing out on a huge market opportunity -— it’s in industry analysts estimate to be worth about $21 billion.