Tear Up Guidelines Restricting Dairy Alternative Foods, ProVeg International Tells UK Government
December 15, 2022
Global food awareness organisation, ProVeg International, has called on the UK Government to tear up the guidelines due to be published in January that will restrict the labelling of plant-based foods and drinks.
“These guidelines are a major step backwards, clearly demonstrating how the UK Government is more serious about protecting the environmentally damaging dairy industry than tackling climate change,” Jasmijn de Boo, Vice President of ProVeg International, said.
“We must make it as easy as possible for consumers to purchase sustainable food with low climate impacts and these guidelines do the opposite,” de Boo added. “The UK stance is surprising as the Government is very much for individual responsibility and these guidelines clash head-on with this approach.”
Consumers are not confused by the use of dairy descriptor names for plant-based products, as research from around the world has repeatedly shown. There is no reason from the consumer side to ban dairy descriptor terms on plant-based food packaging that go beyond existing restrictions. The new restrictions in the guidelines also make it more difficult for people to make informed dietary choices based on their needs.
The guidelines will effectively seek to outlaw the following:
- Play on words, such as “mylk”, and “m*lk”;
- Statements such as “not milk” in conjunction with marketing imagery that evokes milk;
- The use of “an alternative to X” or terms such as “yoghurt-style”, “Wensleydale-type“;
- The use of terms, such as “red Leicester” or “cheddar flavour” on non-dairy products;
- Descriptive terms such as “semi” or “whole” applied to plant-based drinks.
“These guidelines seem to cement the status quo, ensuring that the dairy industry dominates the market. By this means, we only embolden the dairy sector to increase its damaging impact,” de Boo said.
“Policy-making is going decisively in the direction of encouraging alternative protein production in Europe. Producing guidelines that protect the dairy sector to the detriment of the plant-based sector makes the UK look hopelessly left behind in the race to feed the future,” she added.
“This type of restriction has already been tabled in Europe under Amendment 171 but did not progress. Britain has a chance to introduce better standards than those in the EU, not retrogressive ones.”