The Linda McCartney range of vegetarian foods takes its name from the former Beatle's sadly deceased wife, a committed vegetarian. The brand has done much to popularise vegetarian food, by producing its range of meat-free pies, sausages, burders, pasta dishes etc.
Unfortunately its products have for many years been totally loaded with hydrogenated vegetable oil. The sausages in particular are disgusting - heavy, greasy and cloying in the mouth - and that's when they're still warm...
However this is finally changing, since the Linda McCartney brand was bought by Heinz. Most of the range is now free of hydrogenated oil (though still not the sausages). Here is a statement they sent us (23 March 2006):
At Linda McCartney it is our aim not to use ingredients containing trans fatty acid (TFA) in our products.
Over the last 24 months we have carried our extensive development work to eliminate the use of hydrogenated vegetable oil without compromising the great taste that Linda McCartney consumers expect. This has been successfully completed for products including Linda McCartney Deep Country Pies, Linda McCartney Country Slices, Linda McCartney Cocktail Sausage Rolls and Linda McCartney Sausage Rolls.
We are continuing to take steps with the aim of eliminating hydrogenated fat from a couple of remaining recipes where taste and technical challenges need to be overcome. Hence our chefs are working very hard to replace the hydrogenated fat in Linda McCartney sausages with out compromising on the taste and texture of the product and we hope to make the change to non hydrogenated fat in the near future .
The Linda McCartney food range was launched by Ross Youngs (now McVitie's Prepared Foods) in 1991, part of the United Biscuits food empire. In June 1999 the brand eliminated GM soy from all its products following an intervention by former Beatle Paul McCartney.
In 2004 (approx) the brand was bought by Heinz. There have been reports in the press (March 2006) that Heinz is now seeking a buyer for it.