The European Court of Justice has decided that plant-based substitute products must not be called like their animal equivalents anymore. Milk can only be gained from the “normal udder secretion” of animals. The same applies to its processing into cream, butter, cheese or yogurt. The reason is that these namings pose a danger of confusion to the consumers. Even additional terms cannot completely eliminate a mistake and therefore soy-milk will have to be called soy-drink or the like in the future. The origin of this judicial decision was a lawsuit against the enterprise Tofutown which named its plant-based cheese substitute “veggie-cheese”.
The sense of this new regulation is not apparent to most of us, actually. On the contrary, except from the dairy industry, the verdict meets with loud criticism. Poultry sausage which contains less than ten percent of poultry is not a problem. Or strawberry yogurt which consist only of tasty flavours instead of fruits, can keep its name. And also candy which allegedly shall be healthy due to its numerous vitamins are unjustifiably still made tempting for parents. But tofu butter, veggie cheese and soy milk lead the consumers astray. Yet, a minimum of sanity maybe should be attributed to us.
And are the companies now supposed to construct fancy fantasy names for their vegetarian and vegan products? This would probably have as a consequence that vegans who are looking for a plant-based alternative are just confused and do not know which groceries to resort to in order to find a suitable substitute for the animal product. Anyhow, it is a pity that enterprises which try to find a sustainable and more eco-friendly option, are put spokes in their wheel. It would be much more useful to make it more transparent for the consumers, where the products originate from and how species-appropriate the husbandry there really is. This presumably would open the eyes of many people and lead to a rethinking.
We are in suspense about how things will progress…