Plant Based Foods Association

© Plant Based Foods Association

Politics & Law

PBFA Challenges FAIR Labels Act, Announces Retail Advisory Council

In a direct response to the introduction of the Fair and Accurate Ingredient Representation on Labels Act of 2024 (FAIR Labels Act) to US Congress earlier this month, the Plant-Based Foods Association (PBFA) is voicing its opposition, arguing that the act will unfairly target the growing plant-based food industry. This proposed legislation, which is backed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), seeks to mandate that plant-based and lab-grown meat products be labeled as “imitation,” a move aimed at eliminating what supporters call “deceptive labeling practices.” In defense of the act, NCBA President Todd Wilkinson stated in a press release, “We’re not afraid of a little competition, but it is unfair for lab-grown or plant-based fake meat products to trade on beef’s good name.”  Disappointment …

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Revo Foods salmon alternative

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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.” According to the startup, this is …

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The Green REV Institute, calls on EU decision-makers to prioritize the well-being of citizens and public health above the interests of the meat industry.

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Charity & Campaigns

Plant-Based Labels: The Green REV Institute Urges EU Decision Makers to Prioritize Public Health Over Meat Industry Interests

The Green REV Institute, a nonprofit organization focused on farming, food, and animal welfare, has submitted a document to the Technical Regulations Information System (TRIS) urging EU decision-makers to prioritize the well-being of citizens and public health above the interests of the meat industry. The submission comes in response to Italy’s controversial bills banning animal product names on plant-based meat labels. Through TRIS, the European Commission and member states review draft laws to assess their compliance with EU regulations due to the potential impact of such prohibitions on the region’s market. The right to information and health The Green REV Institute emphasizes that consumers have the right to information and health, as guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The organization argues …

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NotCo wins appeal in Chile as court rules in favour of using the word 'milk'

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Politics & Law

“NotCo is Officially NotGuilty” – Chilean Unicorn Defeats Dairy Union as Court Allows ‘Milk’ on NotMilk Labels

After filing an appeal against a court ruling prohibiting using the NotMilk trademark in Chile, NotCo has received positive news. As reported by local media, the Court of Appeals of Valdivia revoked the first instance’s sentence and rejected the lawsuit filed by the Association of Milk Producers of the Los Ríos Region, which accused NotCo of unfair competition for using the name milk on its plant-based beverages.  “We’re officially NotGuilty,” Matias Muchnick, founder and CEO, shared on social media.  The legal action against NotCo started in 2020, and last May, the court ruled in favor of the dairy union, mandating the cessation of any branding or imagery related to the dairy industry.  However, NotCo fought back and, during the appeal, presented a study by Cadem, the country’s …

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QUT analyses the politics of alternative proteins

Dr. Hope Johnson from the QUT School of Law. © QUT

Politics & Law

Australian Study Assesses Politics of Alternative Proteins as Regulators Make Moves to Approve Cultivated Meat

In light of Australia’s recent steps towards approving cultivated meat for sale, researchers from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) have analysed the Senate Inquiry into Definitions of Meat and Other Animal Products to assess the politics of alternative proteins. Led by Dr. Hope Johnson from the QUT School of Law, along with Melbourne Law School Professor Christine Parker and QUT researcher Dr. Brodie Evans, the study notes that many stakeholders were initially concerned that meat alternatives posed a threat to animal agriculture. However, they eventually concluded that alternative proteins were “not necessarily in competition with meat and dairy”. Both industries saw the labelling of meat alternatives as a key issue. The study notes a “lack of consumer complaints about the labelling of meat alternatives …

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French Supreme Court rules in favor of plant-based group in legal battle over misleading labels

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Politics & Law

Setback for French Government as Court Supports Plant-Based Meat and Rejects Label Confusion

After five years of legal battle, the French Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the Nutrition & Santé Group (owner of Gerblé, Céréal, ValpiBio, Valpiform) which had been accused by the meat lobby Interbev (Association Nationale Interprofessionnelle du Bétail et des Viandes) of unfair competition and misleading plant-based meat labels, announces the Association Végétarienne de France.  The court confirmed that a risk of confusion between “steak” and “veggie steak” had not been established. In the court’s view, consumers can distinguish between the different categories if the packaging and advertisements “clearly” indicate that the product is plant-based, reports the French media.  Against plant-based meat This ruling favoring plant-based meat is a significant setback for the French government, which recently renewed proposals to prohibit more than 21 meat …

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Politics & Law

Arizona Introduces Legislation Challenging Cultivated Meat Industry

Joining the list of states considering similar measures, Arizona has proposed multiple new legislations that could redefine the legal framework surrounding cultivated meat. The first bill under consideration, Bill 2244, was introduced by State Representative Quang Nguyen, a Republican and Chair of Public Safety, focusing on the labeling and sale of cultivated meat products. House Bill 2244 mandates that “A person who places a label on a food product may not intentionally misbrand or misrepresent a product that is not derived from livestock or poultry as meat, a meat food product, poultry or a poultry product.” This encompasses cell-cultured food items and synthetic products derived from plants, insects, or other sources. The bill’s emphasis is on preventing the misbranding of these products as traditional meat. …

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Belgium ends war on plant-Based food labeling

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Politics & Law

Belgium Ends War on Plant-Based Food Labelling: Vegan Burgers & Steaks Can Keep Their “Meaty” Names

Article update 15 Jan 2024: Fien Louwagie, Communications Manager, ProVeg Belgium, said: “Whilst the process for developing the guidelines has not officially changed, we believe it is unlikely to get any further before the next election. We hope that, post-election, the new Government will acknowledge the fact that consumers are not confused at all by plant-based foods carrying “meaty” names and will therefore abandon the development of guidelines altogether.” The Belgian government has concluded the so-called “veggie war,” allowing plant-based products to display meaty names such as ‘vegan burger’ or ‘vegan steak‘, as revealed by Nieuwsblad. The Minister of Economy, Pierre-Yves Dermagne, recently announced that Belgium would not establish guidelines on naming and labelling vegetarian and vegan products. The decision came amidst significant disagreement at the …

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A man holding multiple NotMilk products

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Politics & Law

NotCo Challenges Dairy Allegations in Court: 99% of Consumers Know it’s NOT MILK

In a recent appeal against a court ruling prohibiting the use of the NotMilk trademark in Chile, NotCo presented a study by Cadem, showing that most consumers understand that NotMilk is a plant-based beverage despite its branding and packaging displaying the word “milk,” reports La Tercera. Cadem, the country’s leading market research and public opinion company, demonstrates in its Analysis of the reception of the NotMilk product by consumers in Chile that only 0.1% of participants believe that NotMilk comes from a cow. The legal battle began in late 2020 when the dairy farmers union Aproval (Los Ríos Region Milk Producers’ Association) filed a lawsuit alleging “unfair competition” and accusing the food tech company of capitalizing on the reputation of milk and confusing consumers. Last May, the court’s …

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Nasoya WaBa Grill Steak

©Nasoya

Politics & Law

South Korea Prohibits Terms Such as “Beef” or “Pork” on Plant-Based Product Labels

At the end of November, South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) published labeling guidance for plant-based products, prohibiting the use of animal food names such as “beef,” “pork,” “milk,” or “egg” to avoid confusion with traditional animal products, reports The National Law Review. However, the new rules do permit the use of words that describe the nature of the product or the name of the substituted raw material. So, in this case, ‘plant-based bulgogi’ or ‘bulgogi made from soybeans’ are allowed. To clarify, our understanding is that the prohibition concerns the names of the meat themselves, beef, chicken, or tuna for example. However, descriptive terms like “plant-based chunks” are permitted as are the titles of dishes, with the name of the substituting …

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Beyond Stack Burger_spread

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Studies & Numbers

Study: Using More Attractive Names for Plant-Based Dishes Significantly Increases Orders

A new study, conducted by the University of Queensland and published in the journal Food Quality and Preference, has found that giving plant-based dishes more attractive names on restaurant menus could boost sales. According to the research, using adjectives to describe the flavor, texture, and provenance of plant-based meals increases their appeal. For example, descriptions such as “juicy American burger” and “tasty Italian vegetable lasagna” are more appealing than “vegan burger” or “vegetable lasagna”. This effect can be amplified by using blander names for meat-based options. Affordable intervention The study notes that most restaurants currently take the opposite approach, with plant-based dishes named in ways that portray them as healthy but bland and meat-based dishes made to sound tastier. This leads to a lack of …

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Oatly's call for Big Dairy execs to join debate receives just one response

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Sustainability / Environment

Oatly’s Call for Big Dairy Execs to Join Climate Labelling Debate Receives Just One Response

As part of its campaign calling for climate labelling on all food and drink products in the UK, Oatly recently hosted a debate where it invited a “Big Dairy Executive” to explain their stance on the subject. Despite the spot being open to dairy executives from across the EU, and the 26 million views received by Oatly’s campaign launch video on social media, the company received just one response from the dairy industry — and it wasn’t from an executive. Bryce Cunningham is a farmer from Mossgiel Organic Farm in Ayrshire, Scotland, who told the Daily Record that he “felt that Oatly’s claims were unjustified”. Mossgiel is working to reduce its carbon emissions, with the aim of reaching net zero by December 2025. The farm …

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Montecitorio Palace, seat of Italian parliament

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Politics & Law

Italy Withdraws Controversial Bills to Ban Cultivated Meat & Restrict Plant-Based Meat Labels from EU Scrutiny 

According to the Good Food Institute Europe, the Italian government has withdrawn two draft laws from being considered by the European Union: the bill proposing a ban on the production and marketing of cultivated meat and a law to restrict the use of terms such as “salami” or “steak” in plant-based meat labels. The proposed bill to ban cell-based foods aims to “protect” the country’s culture and food heritage from technological innovations, and the labeling restrictions, as noted in the draft, are measures to “avoid misleading nutritional claims” by plant-based meat companies. Due to their potential impact on the region’s market, the European Commission and member states had to examine the draft laws before their adoption to assess their alignment with EU law, through a …

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Oatly calls for climate labelling

© Oatly

Sustainability / Environment

Oatly Calls for Climate Labelling in the UK, Challenges “Big Dairy” to Publish Its Climate Impact

Oatly has launched a campaign calling for all food and drink producers in the UK to adopt climate labelling. The company, which already makes its emissions data public, has published a paper titled Climate Labelling: Why Not? to make the case for others to follow suit. The report has been dubbed a “grey paper”, in recognition of the fact that “climate labelling isn’t a black and white issue where certain foods are good and others are not”. Oatly hopes to join forces with other companies to come up with an effective climate labelling system and put pressure on the UK government to make it mandatory. To promote the campaign, Oatly is offering free high-profile ad spots to the dairy industry if it makes its climate …

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Heura Fish in wrap

Image courtesy of Heura

Agriculture / Agribusiness

Plant-Based Seafood Labels Accused of Deceiving Consumers by Spain’s Seafood Industry

In yet another war against plant-based food labelling, Spain’s seafood industry has joined forces to denounce “fraud in the labelling and presentation of plant-based seafood products,” arguing that such practices confuse consumers. The coalition, also joined by the association of wholesalers, importers, exporters, and processors of seafood products Conxemar, is calling on the Ministry of Consumer Affairs to review and immediately withdraw plant-based seafood products that use fish names on their labels seeking to “deceive consumers on the nutritional value of the products,” as reported by the media.  In addition, they argue that the products do not comply with “several” European and national regulations, including unfair competition practices, advertising of food products, and food safety and nutrition. A recent USDA Spain Seafood Report 2023 says …

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Australian meat lobby calls for alt meat labelling restrictions

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Politics & Law

Australia: Alt Meat Labelling Restrictions Delayed as Government Seeks Industry Views

In 2021, Australian Senator Susan McDonald — former owner of meat retailer Super Butcher — chaired an inquiry where she pushed for the introduction of alt meat labelling restrictions. The aim of the proposed laws was to prevent plant-based producers from using meat-like terms such as “beef” and “chicken”. The inquiry followed lobbying from the Australian Red Meat Advisory Council, which claimed that meat alternatives were using terms that misled consumers. The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission sided with the plant-based industry, but despite this, the inquiry published results in 2022 recommending that labelling restrictions be introduced. Now, over 18 months later, the Australian meat industry has expressed frustration that the restrictions have not yet been made law. Cattle Australia interim CEO Adam Coffey told …

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Paris skyline

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Politics & Law

France Continues Fight Against “Meat Names” on Plant-Based Meat Labelling

France has revealed renewed proposals to prohibit using meat-related terms such as “steak” and “ham” to describe and market plant-based meat products made and sold in the country.  A new draft decree bans 21 meat names used to describe “foodstuffs containing plant proteins,” including “steak”, “ham”, “escalope,” or “spare ribs“, and even “butcher” or “meat maker”.  However, over 100 meat-related names, such as “cooked ham”, “poultry”, “sausage”, or “bacon”, will be permitted as long as the products contain plant proteins within the range of 0.5% to 6%.  The term “burger” is not included in any of the lists. France, the first country in the EU to take such measures against plant-based meat labels, tried to pass a decree last year backed by the country’s meat industry and …

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Irish plant-forward frozen food brand Strong Roots has launched climate footprint labels across all its packages.

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Food & Beverage

Strong Roots Launches Carbon Footprint Labels Highlighting GHG Emissions of Each Product “From Soil to Shelf”

Irish plant-forward frozen food brand Strong Roots has launched climate footprint labels across all its packaging to help climate-friendly consumers make informed purchase decisions.  To calculate its emissions, Strong Roots has partnered with Swedish climate company CarbonCloud. Its intelligent software allows Strong Roots to effectively monitor and assess the carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and methane emissions associated with each product’s lifecycle, from ingredients to shelf to distribution. With the information, Strong Roots can establish an emission baseline and develop a roadmap to identify areas for improvement in its production process, Samuel Dennigan, founder and CEO of Strong Roots, told Forbes.   Environmental concerns While health considerations are still essential for purchasing plant-based products, a significant portion of people (45%) are motivated by environmental concerns, according to a study conducted …

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US Capitol/ Congress Building

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Politics & Law

FDA’s Plant-Based Milk Labeling Guidances: “Unprecedented, Unwarranted, and a Solution in Search of a Problem”

The Plant-Based Foods Association recently submitted a response to the FDA regarding its “Draft Labeling Recommendations for Plant-based Milk Alternatives to Inform Consumers” paper which recommends that brands add nutrition statements comparing plant-based milk to milk from dairy cows. This move would be completely unique to plant-based milk and has been described by the PBFA as “unprecedented, unwarranted, and a solution in search of a problem.”   Taking a deep dive into the supposed evidence behind this guidance, the PBFA has lodged a Freedom of Information Act Request to access the consumer research employed by the FDA, and here shares the assessment compiled by Professor Joel H. Steckel of New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business, scrutinizing the foundation of the FDA’s conclusions. …

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Politics & Law

France Asks European Court of Justice to Clarify Legality of Alt Meat Labelling Ban

The French Conseil d’Etat has asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to clarify whether the government’s decree banning the use of meat-like terms for plant-based products is compatible with EU law. The governmental body is requesting information on whether individual member states can introduce this type of law, or whether EU-level harmonisation prevents this. If it is considered allowable to introduce the law, the Conseil D’Etat is seeking clarification on whether the decree is a proportionate way of achieving the goal of consumer transparency. The requests come in response to a court case brought by The European Vegetarian Union (EVU) and other parties — who claim that the decree violates EU law — against the Conseil D’Etat. Once the ECJ has provided clarification, the …

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