Vegetarian alternatives complain about EU name plans
Manufacturers of vegan and vegetarian alternatives to milk products feel that the EU is treating them harshly. As part of the EU’s post-2020 renegotiation of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), an amendment to EU regulations on a common market organization for agricultural products is planned, which includes restricting the name use of vegan and vegetarian products.
The reasons for the planned changes are above all transparency and a possible likelihood of confusion for consumers. But producers of vegetarian and vegan products find themselves at a disadvantage.
The vegan products manufacturers and nutritional organisations fear that bans on labels or the extension of designation protection will stagnate the market for herbal alternatives. Thus, the changes, which are associated with a larger proportion of vegetable proteins in the nutritional mix, would not come into play.
“The judgment of the European Court of Justice has already significantly limited us in the designation of our products”, said Malte Stampe, managing director of Prolupin. Under the umbrella brand MADE WITH LUVE, the company offers herbal alternatives to conventional dairy products.
“Product names referring to animal counterparts allow consumers to easily and quickly identify plant alternatives. Should there be further restrictions, all manufacturers of alternative plant products will soon be forced to resort to individual art words. It is more than questionable whether art words can ever be used to create new, generic category terms like ‘yogurt’ or ‘salami’. The necessary transfer process in consumer behaviour is artificially impeded and ultimately delayed.”
Felix Domke, head of the political department of the nutritional organisation ProVeg, sees it similarly. “There are no empirical studies or other evidence to suggest that consumers are confused or deceived by the current names of vegan and vegetarian products,” Domke said.