Vegan bacon producer La Vie has been accused of unfair competition by a French pork lobby.
INAPORC claims that the company’s plant-based lardons are too similar to conventional pork alternatives, thereby copying the originals.
La Vie has taken to its social media channels and the printed press to pen a love letter back to INAPORC. It facetiously thanked the pork lobby for the “nicest compliment.”
What’s the beef with plant-based pork?
The French government recently laid bare its issue with plant-based meat products: they’re described using “meaty” terms and undermine the domestic meat industry.
As a result, it attempted to implement a labeling ban. It would prohibit French manufacturers from using terms such as “sausage,” “steak,” and pertinently, “bacon” on packaging for plant-based products. Had it been accepted without challenge, the ban would have come into force on October 1.
However, earlier this week the French high court Conseil d’Etat paused the ban to assess its legality and proposed timescale.
The move has offered companies such as La Vie, which has been vocal about its feelings towards the ban, a potential reprieve.
La Vie takes on the pork lobby
Known for its whimsical packaging and largely irreverent approach to marketing, La Vie was uncharacteristically serious when addressing the proposed labeling ban.
“This law is going completely in the opposite direction of two official priorities of the French government: the fight against global warming and the reindustrialization of France,” Nicholas Schweitzer, CEO of La Vie, told Plant Based News at the time.
However, when accused of producing a plant-based product that too closely resembles its meat counterpart, the company changed its tune.
In addition to thanking INAPORC, which Schweitzer refers to as a “proper bacon professional,” for its compliment (via LinkedIn), La Vie went national with its appreciation.
Taking out a full back page advert in Le Parisien, the bacon innovator directly addresses consumers first. “The pork lobby is attacking us because our veggie lardons are indistinguishable from pork lardons.”
It continues: “Help us defend ourselves, by sending them this letter.”
Below a dotted line is a letter addressed to INAPORC that reads: “Dear pork lobby. Thanks for the compliment. We think that your pork lardons are indistinguishable from our veggie lardons. Would you mind changing your recipe? Thanks.”
Space for a stamp is included.
Schweitzer says that the saga is not over yet and invites consumers to stay tuned for the next episodes.