EAME

Farmers’ attempt to ban terms such as veggie burger rejected

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Vegetarian burgers will remain burgers after the European Parliament dismissed proposals to ban meaty names for plant-based foods

The ban had been proposed by farming and meat lobbyists, including Copa-Cogeca, the trade body for European farmers who claimed that marketing agencies used the terms to deliberately confuse consumers.

The group sought to eliminate the use of terms such as tofu steak and soy sausage, but the proposals were strongly opposed by organisations, including ProVeg International, which campaigns for food awareness globally.

“To suggest that consumers are confused by the contents of a veggie burger is clearly nonsense. Just as we all know full well that there is no butter in peanut butter and no cream in coconut cream, consumers know exactly what they’re getting when they purchase veggie burgers or veggie sausages,” said Jasmijn de Boo, vice president of ProVeg International, before the hearing.

“Over 150,000 people have signed our petition to say they agree with us. We just hope that common sense prevails on Tuesday.”

Alternative names

Had the European Parliament decided to vote in favour of the amendment, vegetarian burgers and sausages might have been rebranded with alternative names – vegetarian discs and plant-based tubes are just two that have been mentioned previously.

The European Consumer Organization welcomed the decision. “Consumers are in no way confused by a soy steak or chickpea-based sausage, so long as it is clearly labelled as vegetarian or vegan,” it said in a statement.

“Terms such as ‘burger’ or ‘steak’ on plant-based items simply make it much easier for consumers to know how to integrate these products within a meal.”

Tina Nielsen