Most Italians Support ‘Meaty’ Names For Vegan Food, Despite Government Crackdown

The Italian government recently announced a ban on plant-based alternatives using “meaty” labels


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Plant-based Beyond Meat in a supermarket Italy could soon ban "meaty" names for plant-based alternatives - Media Credit: Adobe Stock

The majority of Italians support plant-based companies using “meaty” names on their products, a new poll has found. 

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According to a survey from The Good Food Institute (GFI), 69 percent of Italians agree that terms like “hamburger” are appropriate for plant-based foods. Sixty eight percent of respondents believe that companies should be free to use these terms on their labels. Just 21 percent think they should be banned on the basis that they could “confuse” customers. 

The poll comes a few months after the Italian government announced a ban on plant-based companies marketing their products with terms usually associated with meat. These terms include “steak” and “salami.” The government cited consumer confusion as the reason behind this decision, but there is limited evidence backing this reasoning.

According to GFI, crackdowns on plant-based labels create a barrier to people buying planet-friendly foods. “Our survey is further confirmation that consumers are fully informed and that the ban on meat-sounding terms does not introduce any necessary protection, but is instead bound to create confusion, complicating access to products that play a key role in diversifying and making our diets more sustainable,” said Francesca Gallelli, Public Affairs Advisor at the Good Food Institute Europe, in a statement.

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Crackdowns on plant-based meat

Some frozen Impossible vegan burgers on a supermarket shelf
Adobe Stock A number of governments have announced crackdowns on plant-based meat labels

The new guidelines for plant-based meat labels haven’t yet been implemented. In February of this year, the Italian government confirmed it was in discussions with plant-based companies about the effect the ban would have on them. 

Italy is the third biggest market in Europe for plant-based products. There was a 21 percent increase in sales between 2020 and 2022, driven by increasing popularity of veganism, vegetarianism, and flexitarianism. 

According to Gallelli, the prospective ban has put plant-based companies in a “limbo” where “they do not know if and when they will have to modify their marketing strategy.”

Italy is not the only country to announce possible crackdowns on plant-based labeling. Thailand made a similar move earlier this month, while France suspended its ban back in April.

Read more: Plant-based Nuggets Outperform Meat In ‘World’s Largest’ Taste Test

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