The European Union is currently considering banning established and widely understood terms such as ‘burger’, ‘sausage’, and ‘steak’ for plant-based products. Additionally, the proposed EU ban would prohibit dairy-related terms, such as ‘yoghurt style’, ‘cheese alternative’, and ‘butter substitute’.
The main argument behind this proposal is to avoid consumer confusion. However, terms such as ‘veggie burger’ and ‘veggie sausage’ provide important information regarding the taste and uses that people can expect from a product. Consumers buy plant-based products precisely because they know these products offer similar taste experiences and functionalities to their animal-based counterparts.
The proposed restrictions would be in direct contradiction to the EU’s stated objectives in the European Green Deal and the Farm to Fork Strategy of creating more sustainable and healthier food systems. The Farm to Fork Strategy explicitly states the need to empower consumers “to choose sustainable food” and to make “it easier to choose healthy and sustainable diets”.
Add your name and tell the European Parliament not to accept the proposed veggie burger ban.
To: the European Parliament
“Terms such as ‘veggie burger’ and ‘yoghurt alternative’ do not confuse me. Please don’t vote in favour of the proposed ‘veggie burger ban.’”
We hope to handover at least 200,000 signatures. With a donation of 15 euros we can collect about 100 extra signatures.
On 1 April 2019, as a part of a vote on the EU’s new Common Agricultural Policy, the AGRI Committee of the European Parliament voted in favour of several proposals which would further restrict the freedom of the plant-based food industry to market its products.The accepted proposals, if passed into law, would prohibit companies from using words such as ‘veggie burger’ and ‘vegan sausage’ on food labels and packaging, and tighten existing restrictions on the naming of plant-based dairy equivalents, even banning the phrase ‘plant-based milk alternative’.
This is an unjustified restriction of commercial speech, which is not in the interest of consumers or producers. The use of denominations that are typically used to refer to animal-based foods (e.g. ‘burger’, ‘sausage’, ‘milk’) in plant-based products serves an important function in communicating characteristics that consumers are looking for when buying plant-based products. The proposed restrictions would unnecessarily impede 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.Additionally, the ban serves no clear purpose. There is no evidence whatsoever that consumers or the food industry want or need this restriction, or that consumers are confused or misled by vegetarian products (which are usually clearly labelled). Vegetarian and vegan products do not aim to imitate animal products with the intention of misleading consumers. Instead, these products are a response to the increasing consumer demand for innovative alternatives to animal products. Consumers buy plant-based products precisely because they know these products offer similar taste experiences and functionalities to their animal-based counterparts but without containing any animal material.
We urgently call upon the newly elected European Parliament to reject these proposals when considering the new Common Agricultural Policy and to put an end to other unnecessary policies restricting the denomination of plant-based products.
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
United Nations Environment Programme