Politics & Law

Revo Foods is Sued for “Misleading” Consumers That its Plant-Based Salmon is Real Fish, Court Dismisses Case

An Austrian court has dismissed a lawsuit brought against alt seafood startup Revo Foods by Vienna City Council, based on the labelling of its famed plant-based salmon.

The lawsuit claimed that the name of the product, “Revo™ Salmon – 100% Plant-Based with Pea Protein”, could mislead consumers into thinking it contained real salmon. However, the administrative court rejected this.

“Our packaging declares that only 100% plant-based ingredients are used and clearly labels the products as vegan without animal-based ingredients,” said Robin Simsa, CEO of Revo Foods. “In our view, any accusation of deception is unjustified. Many consumers are specifically looking for these types of products, and it is important to give guidance of the product taste with descriptive names.”

The Revo Foods team. © Revo Foods

According to the startup, this is the first case of its kind to be brought against a seafood alternative in Europe, though there have been similar cases in other plant-based categories such as meat and milk alternatives.

Revo Foods uses advanced 3D extrusion technology to produce highly realistic alternatives to fish. The company’s mycoprotein-based salmon fillet — developed in collaboration with Sweden’s Mycorena — was the first 3D-printed product to launch in supermarkets anywhere in the world. Last month, Revo Foods launched a crowdinvesting campaign and announced plans to scale up production.

“Distortion of competition”

Following the lawsuit, Revo Foods has accused meat industry lobby groups of attempting to hinder the growth of more sustainable plant-based alternatives under the guise of “protecting” consumers. The startup is now calling for EU-wide regulations to allow plant-based products to compete in a fair market.

Revo Foods salmon filet on plate with asparagus
© Revo Foods

Several European countries are currently attempting to limit the way plant-based products can be promoted, including France, Poland, and Italy. However, Belgium has recently dropped plans to restrict the labelling of plant-based foods, and previous attempts to introduce restrictions at an EU level have also failed.

“It seems that these naming regulations primarily affect plant-based products (such as oat drink),” said Simsa. “In our view, however, a clear one-sidedness or distortion of competition is recognizable here. Meat and fish farms are heavily subsidized by the public sector, for example through lower tax rates or by agricultural subsidies. However, meat is by far the biggest climate driver in food production. Is this approach in line with the “European Green Deal”, with which Europe wants to promote more environmental protection? We don’t think so.“

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