Heura Fish

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Meat- and Fish Alternatives

Spanish Seafood Producers & Consumer Unions Claim Plant-Based Seafood Labelling is Deceptive

A group of over 20 Spanish seafood companies and consumer unions has accused plant-based seafood producers of misleading consumers through their labelling. The organisations — which include Apromar, Cepesca, Interfish, Conexmar, ConsumES, and more —- have announced their intention to join SAFE Food Advocacy Europe to urge European authorities to place stricter regulations on plant-based products. They say these foods should not be able to imitate fish or shellfish. While the companies claim their objections are mostly centred around the “deception” of consumers, there are clearly other factors at play. Conexmar says the marketing of plant-based seafood “may lead to unfair competition”, while Miguel López Crespo, the vice president of ConsumES, admits that “we are also concerned about the damage that this type of product …

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Hellmann's

© Unilever/Hellmann's

Products & Launches

Hellmann’s Rebrands Vegan Mayo to Appeal to a Wider Consumer Base

Hellmann’s UK has announced it is renaming its vegan mayo to “Plant-Based Mayo” with the aim of appealing to a broader range of consumers. The company said its consumer research had shown that the word “vegan” deters some flexitarians, who feel that the product isn’t intended for them. The term “plant-based” is reportedly seen as more inclusive. The mayo’s recipe has also been altered; it now contains less rapeseed oil, while sunflower oil and xanthan gum have been added. The updated product is currently rolling out at supermarkets in 400ml glass jars and 430ml and 750ml squeezy bottles. Some other brands are also moving away from the word “vegan”. Magnum — which, like Hellmann’s, is owned by Unilever — has previously launched several plant-based ice …

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Dancing Cow

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Politics & Law

India’s PBFIA Calls for Plant-Based Milk Labeling Restrictions to Be Eased

Speaking at the Plant Based Foods Summit in New Delhi on May 21, India’s Plant Based Foods Industry Association (PBFIA) has called for the easing of labeling restrictions that currently prevent the use of the word “milk” on plant-based product packaging. Currently, milk alternatives sold in India are required to be labeled with the disclaimer “This is not dairy”, and the use of any dairy terms on their packaging is banned. But Sanjay Sethi, Executive Director of PBFIA, urged the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to reconsider. This would not be unprecedented; in the US, the FDA released draft guidance last year stating that milk alternatives can be called “milk”, in recognition of the fact that this terminology is commonly used by …

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© Rikki Hibbert/Fry's Family Foods

Politics & Law

Johannesburg High Court Overturns Seizure of Meat Alternatives in South Africa

The Johannesburg High Court has overturned the planned seizure of plant-based meat alternatives marketed using “meat-like” terms in South Africa. These products will now remain permanently available in the country. South Africa’s Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) first banned the use of meat-like terms on plant-based product labels in June 2022, arguing that it was misleading to consumers. The department instructed the Food Safety Agency to seize any non-compliant products. However, plant-based advocates took the case to the Johannesburg High Court, successfully arguing that plant-based meat alternatives were not covered by legislation relating to the classification and labelling of processed meats. The court temporarily halted the planned seizure of the products in August 2022. Almost a year later, the seizure was …

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Politics & Law

“There is No Problem to Fix”: UK Government Urged to Reject Plant-Based Dairy Labelling Guidance

Food awareness organisation ProVeg UK has called on the UK government to stop the publication of guidance that would restrict the labelling of plant-based dairy alternatives. The guidance has been drawn up by the Food Standards & Information Focus Group (FSIFG), which aims to help trading standards officers interpret inherited EU laws. It is set to be published at Easter, and would prevent plant-based dairy companies from using terms such as “not milk”, “cheeze”, or even “alternative to milk”. But ProVeg argues that the guidance will stifle the plant-based industry instead of taking advantage of opportunities for growth. The UK is the second-largest consumer of plant-based alternative proteins in Europe, and is home to many alt dairy companies. “One of the reasons the UK voted …

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Vegan cured ham by Biolab.

© Biolab

Politics & Law

Italy Signals Willingness to Revisit Plant-Based Labelling Restrictions Following Industry Feedback

Two days ago, France issued a decree prohibiting companies from using familiar food names such as ‘salami’ or ‘steak’ to protect consumers from confusing plant-based products with animal foods.  Italy passed a similar ban last November, also arguing that plant-based meat labels mislead and confuse consumers. Nonetheless, the government is open to reconsidering its restrictions (which are yet to be enforced) if they hurt Italian businesses.  As reported by local media, the government is negotiating with Unione Italian Food, which represents the plant-based food sector, to work together to reach a mutual agreement on how to label alternatives to meat. During previous talks, he emphasized that his goal is not to harm Italian companies but to balance business interests and consumer protection.  “We intended to open a discussion …

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France Flag

© Björn Wylezich - stock.adobe.com

Politics & Law

France Finally Bans “Meaty” Names from Plant-Based Labels in New Decree

The French government has finally published a decree specifying the list of names that plant-based companies cannot use to label their products, including, among many others, ‘steak,’ ‘entrecote,’ ‘ham,’ ‘butcher,’ and ‘cutlet.’ The text responds to a long-standing demand of animal agri-food players to ban meat-product names in plant-based foods, claiming that these labels mislead and confuse consumers.   France, the first country in the EU to take measures against plant-based meat labels, published the first decree in June 2022, but last year, the French Conseil d’Etat halted the process to ask the European Court of Justice if banning these names in plant-based products was compatible with the EU. However, the government revealed a renewed proposal to ban “meaty” names last September, alleging consumer confusion. Two prohibiting lists …

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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

© Revo Foods

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

© NotCo

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

© Beyond Meat

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

© Mossgiel Organic Farm

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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