The words sausage, bacon and steak should be BANNED when describing plant-based vegan imitations, farmers say
- Farmers are calling for a ban on using the words sausage, bacon and steak for vegan foods
- Food consultants and trade experts accused the plant producers of sales promotion
- Experts said Britain should follow France in banning the words
Using the words sausage, bacon and steak to describe plant-based vegan imitations should be banned, say food consultants, trade experts, farmers and butchers.
During the week of World Vegan Day on November 1st, plant producers are accused of using meat terms as a marketing ploy to boost sales.
Experts said Britain should follow France, which is moving towards a ban on words like sausage and steak for vegetarian versions of meat products.
Professor Joshua Bamfield, director of the Center for Retail Research, who was a vegetarian for 20 years, said: “There should be a new rule saying vegan products can’t be labeled as sausage, steak or bacon. We should follow what the French are doing.
Farmers claim that crop producers are using meat terms as a marketing ploy to boost sales
“One would think that trade standards would already have been on it, because what says on the can should also be inside.
“This is not an argument against vegan food. But the idea of being able to call a product anything, regardless of what’s inside, violates labeling laws. Research shows that some vegan products are very sophisticated.
“Calling something ‘veggie sausage’ is a sales tactic because the manufacturer believes it will sell more than calling it ‘vegan stick.’
“If they said the product was made in France when in fact it was made in Wales, the authorities would fall on them like a ton of bricks.”
Nellie Nichols, one of the UK’s leading food consultants who works with manufacturers and retailers, said: “Producers should be honest about what products are being used. They should admit that it’s not the meat product and not try to fool the consumer.
“They have to make it clear that the product they’re copying is made from pea or soy protein and not say it’s a version of a sausage, for example.
“It’s a marketing challenge and will likely become a legal challenge.
“A clever way to get people to sidestep it is to say something isn’t what you think it is, like with the ‘This’ brand that has products like ‘This Isn’t Chicken.’ Plant-Based Pieces’ sold.
Professor Joshua Bamfield of the Center for Retail Research said: “There should be a new rule stating that vegan products cannot be labeled as sausages, steaks or bacon.”
“We should eat more than twice as many vegetables as we do. But when you call a product vegan, people associate the food with people demonstrating and throwing paint and misbehaving. It’s much better to call it plant-based.”
Farmers agreed. A spokesman for the National Farmers’ Union said: “Farmers have long called for clear, unambiguous labeling to help shoppers understand the origin of produce and make informed decisions about the food they buy.
“We want labeling legislation to be revised to further protect traditional meat designations. All food products have specific ingredients and their own nutritional properties. For this reason, avoid using the same term for products in different food categories.
A spokesman for The Vegan Society said: “As consumers move away from eating animals, the demand for vegan products is growing. There is no denying that animal husbandry and the meat industry feel threatened by this and are desperately trying to restrict the marketing of vegan products.
“These terms explain to people the context in which the plant-based food can be eaten or prepared.”
There are around two million vegans in the UK and around six million vegetarians.