Groups campaign against EU proposals to regulate names of vegetarian products
The EU recently proposed a ban on supermarkets using names like “burgers”, “sausages”, or “steaks” to describe non-meat products for sale. Instead, they would need to be given alternative names, for instance, “veggie disk” or “veggie tube”
However, campaigners are fighting the proposals. One group, ProVeg, set up a petition this week against the ban. They have, so far, had thousands of signatures, and the number is rising.
Some MEP’s argue that calling non-meat products meat name is confusing for consumers. Others believe that making the names illegal is down to lobbying from the meat industry.
In addition to this, some of the MEP’s that are in favour of the ban have highlighted the fact that milk alternatives, like soya milk and almond milk, are already banned from using the word “milk” on their packaging.
This law came into effect in 2017, and required all dairy replacements to be labeled without the word milk – for example, soya milk should be “soya drink”.
As the number of vegetarians and vegans rises in Europe, campaign groups argue that these new names could put many consumers off of the products altogether, which would benefit the meat industry but reduce the sale of vegetarian products.
In an interview, spokesperson for ProVeg, Philip Mansbridge, said: “There is no evidence to suggest that consumers are confused or misled by the current labeling of vegetarian and vegan products.”
“To suggest that consumers do not understand the meaning of the term ‘veggie burger’ and other similar terms is an insult to their intelligence.”
“The use of ‘burger’, ‘sausage’, and ‘milk’ wording on plant-based products actually serves an important function in communicating characteristics that consumers are looking for when buying plant-based products, especially in terms of taste and texture.
“They’ve been used successfully for decades. Why confuse matters? The proposed restriction would also unnecessarily restrict manufacturers, producers, and the positive social and environmental changes created by the plant-based market, one of the fastest-growing and most innovative sectors in the food industry today.”
If the proposals are to become law, they will have to be backed by all MEP’s after the European elections this month. It will also need the approval of the Council of the EU.