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Meat lobbyists have been blasted for suggesting consumers are confused by words like ‘burger’ being used to describe vegan meat.

The criticism comes because the EU Parliament is voting on the so-called ‘veggie burger ban’ amendment.

Proposals

Under the proposals, plant-based producers could no longer use words like ‘burger’ and ‘sausage’, for their products. As a result, they would have names likes veggie discs or tubes instead.

The proposals would also ban producers from using terms like cheese ‘style’ and ‘alternative’ because proponents say they ‘confuse consumers’.

‘A joke’

However, those who oppose the proposals have criticized claims that consumers are confused by the terms.

Andy Shovel is co-founder of THIS, a vegan meat brand best known for its bacon alternative. He told PBN: “When I first saw the proposed ban, I genuinely thought it was a joke. 

“If the meat lobbyists are telling the truth, and consumers who get confused by the concept of ‘a plant-based sausage’ genuinely do exist, should they really be shopping unaccompanied? And a burning question for me, is – what will the EU do about Mince Pies?”

‘If lunacy prevails’

He added: “If lunacy prevails and the ban is imposed, the plant-based sector will continue to boom, given how substantial and meaningful the drivers for growth are. 

“Environmental preservation, health and ethical concerns around meat consumption are factors that set this seismic change apart from previous trends that have caused spikes in consumer demand such as coconut water or flavored popcorn.”

Petition

Almost 250,000 people have signed a ProVeg International petition urging the EU parliament to reject the proposals. 

The petition called on signatories to ‘tell the European Parliament not to accept the proposed veggie burger ban’.

Jasmijn de Boo, vice president of ProVeg International, said: “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. 

“Over [250,000] people have signed our petition to say they agree with us. We just hope that common sense prevails on [this week].”

‘Vegan meat’

Those who support the ban include EU’s farmers’ association Copa-Cogeca. The group described the use of the terms as ‘surrealistic’.

Spokesperson Jean-Pierre Fleury said: “Marketing is disconnected from the real nature of products, which is just asking for things to spin out of control.”

‘Brainless’

But THIS’ Andy Shovel is resolute on his position on the proposals. He said: “THIS is well placed to parry away any potentially brainless ban on meat-related terms, given our propensity for sarcastic and dry messaging. 

“I back us to find suitably amusing product terminology that’s both descriptive, but also lets consumers know how ludicrous we think the constraints are.”

You can find out more about ProVeg’s petition here

Maria Chiorando

Maria Chiorando

Maria is the editor of Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle.