After voting in favour of Amendment 171 back in October, MEP’s enacted a ban on companies using terms like ‘cheese-style’ and ‘butter alternative’ to describe plant-based dairy products.
This ban will essentially censor the plant-based dairy industry, even preventing non-dairy brands from packaging their products in milk cartons and butter tubs.
The reasoning behind this censorship is the ludicrous suggestion that consumers are confused by the products and mistake them for ‘real’ dairy products. Essentially, MEP’s think we’re stupid.
But plant-based companies aren’t giving up hope. ProVeg created a petition to stop Amendment 171 from coming into effect, and it has now gathered over 300,000 signatures.
‘A highly irresponsible move’
Writing in an open letter to the European Commission and the EU Member States, ProVeg explained:
“Amendment 171 would not only hide information from consumers but also hinder innovation and the emerging sustainable food sector. Altogether, it would be a huge reversal of the work done so far to meet the EU’s own goals on public health and sustainability, as agreed under the terms of the Paris Agreement.
Given the urgency of the climate crisis, it’s a highly irresponsible move.”
Omitting dairy-terms is more confusing
A new study carried out by Cornell University concluded that ‘consumers are no more likely to think that plant-based products come from an animal if the product’s name incorporates words traditionally associated with animal products than if it does not’.
In fact, it argued that ‘omitting words that are traditionally associated with animal products from the names of plant-based products actually causes consumers to be significantly more confused about the taste and uses of these products’.
To this aim, the plant-based dairy ban will actually cause more confusion – can you imagine spraying oat milk on your cereal in the morning?
‘We know how to read labels’
The EU claiming that consumers are confused by non-dairy alternatives is simply just downright insulting.
Portuguese politician in the EUP Francisco Guerreiro re-tweeted the ProVeg campaign, with the following:
“To: Dairy industry and lobbied policy-makers. From: Consumers. No, we actually don’t buy oat milk by mistake, contrary to what you have been saying as an excuse to restrict the marketing of vegan products.”
He finished his tweet by simply stating: “We know how to read labels and distinguish cow milk from plant-based milk.”
Similarly, Polish politician Sylwia Spurek wrote on Twitter: “Consumers want more plant-based products. We can’t and shouldn’t delay necessary changes.”
With a staggering number of plant-based brands and consumers supporting ProVeg’s petition against Amendment 171, we sincerely hope that the European Parliament sees sense and rejects the ban. This is a time for innovation in the midst of a climate crisis, not unjustified censorship.
You can sign the petition to stop the ban here, and help fight the plant-based censorship.
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