A European proposal to ban the use of names such as “burger” and “sausage,” as well as descriptive terms like “yogurt-style” and “cheese alternative,” from being used on vegetarian and vegan products is being widely challenged across Europe.

Key stakeholders within the plant-based space are ramping up lobbying of MEPs, bolstering their campaign to stop politicians voting through plans to tighten up labeling rules on plant-based products. This comes as industry edges closer to a vote on two key amendments that could see naming laws severely tightened. 

Amendment 165 seeks to restrict plant-based products from using names typically associated with meat products. If passed into law, this could see non-meat burgers renamed as “veggie discs” and non-meat sausages as “veggie tubes.” 

Amendment 171 seeks to extend existing restrictions on dairy-related terms. Terms such as “almond milk” and “vegan cheese” are already banned on products in the EU, but amendment 171 goes further and would restrict dairy alternatives from using descriptive terms. 

Both amendments have been put forward to avoid consumer confusion and will be voted on during a European Parliament’s plenary session schedule for October 19-22. 

“Common sense” should prevail
However, those in the plant-based sector believe this would make branding and labeling so much more difficult and, in any case, consumers are not confused between a plant-based product and a real meat or dairy product. 

“We really hope that a majority of MEPs vote to reject both amendments. To suggest that the public are confused by the contents of a veggie burger is clearly nonsense, and we hope that common sense prevails,” Jimmy Pierson, director at ProVeg International, tells FoodIngredientsFirst. 

“If the amendments are passed then it will hit manufacturers, retailers, and foodservice outlets hard financially. They will have to relabel products under the new legal framework, for example, with a risk of costly lawsuits for brands deemed to have interpreted the new legislation incorrectly,” he argues.

Rebranding could also be required to ensure that products attract and retain consumers familiar with the previous labeling, branding and terminology. 

New marketing campaigns could also be needed to ensure that consumers understand the like-for-like functionality of existing products with new names and descriptions, Pierson adds  

“Market research in different European markets could also be necessary since it’s unlikely that there will be a one-size-fits-all alternative naming framework across all the different EU Member States,” he says. 

Full story: https://www.foodingredientsfirst.com/news/rebranding-on-the-horizon-plant-based-space-bracing-for-european-vote-on-meat-and-dairy-terminology.html