Vegetarian alternatives to meat and dairy products have been on the market for decades.
As many of the meat and dairy alternatives have been developed and produced specifically to resemble the “originals”, they are marketed under similar sales denominations, such as “vegan sausage” or “vegetarian cutlet”. This had never been met with criticism until the vegetarian alternatives made their way way from a health food shop niche into mainstream supermarkets, expanding their sales figures accordingly in many EU member states. Only now are certain stakeholders calling for a legal ban on “meaty names” for vegetarian alternatives. In the case of dairy alternatives, a recent European Court of Justice ruling confirmed that the label “milk” might only be used for products that contain the liquid secretion of animals. Hence “soy milk” is not allowed, it needs to be called “soy drink”. Other dairy-based products such as cheese and yoghurt are also affected, meaning that for the foreseeable future there won’t be any vegan products called “almond cheese” or “vegan yoghurt”.
It is the EVU’s position that “meaty” and “milky” names on vegetarian meat and dairy alternatives convey important information on what consumers can expect of a product. Hence, they guide consumers’ purchase decisions in a useful and straightforward way without the danger of deception under the premise that
– the vegetarian characteristic is communicated clearly on the packaging and
– the vegetarian product is sufficiently similar to the meat/dairy products whose denomination it bears.
For more information, refer to the EVU’s position paper on sales denominations for meat-alternatives (below) and the EVU’s comment on the recent ECJ ruling.
For a press release from the 19th of October concerning the ongoing debate about sales denominations in Germany, check “Vegan Schnitzel” stays “vegan Schnitzel”. Big loss for German Federal Minister Schmidt.Download EVU Position Paper Feb 2017 (pdf) Download Press Release (pdf)