You’d have to be a real meathead to confuse a “veggie burger” or “seitan sausage” for the real thing.
Nevertheless, the European Parliament has passed a measure that will prohibit companies from using terms like “steak,” “cheese,” “milk,” or “burger” in marketing vegan/veggie products and meat alternatives.
This is obviously a major victory for Big Meat. Farmers and meat professionals now hope that the measure will be enacted as law by the European Commission in May. Given Europe’s penchant for regulating literally everything, one can expect the maximum degree of bureaucracy to prevail on the matter.
This isn’t the first ruling in favour of Traditional Food. Two years ago a German tofu company was ordered to stop marketing its products as tofu “butter” and “veggie cheese,” and several U.S. states have enacted laws that prevent cauliflower rice manufacturers from using the term “rice.”
So where do plant-based companies go from here? They’ll have to come up with some original lingo it seems – hopefully not as recommended by European politicians. “Veggie disc” and “seitan slab” are just some of the incredibly unappetizing suggestions brought to the table.
“We believe that these unnecessary changes would be a step backwards – the laws would not only harm companies selling these products, but confuse the public with unclear labelling,” says the food awareness association ProVeg International. The company’s Head of Politics goes on: “The EU is seeking to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.” Classic.