The steaks were high in the European Parliament as it decided meatless and plant-based items can still be called sausages, burgers and other words typically related to meat.
During votes on concerns connecting to agricultural products, political leaders decided that so-called veggie burgers, soy steaks, and vegan sausages can be offered as such in dining establishments and shops across the EU.
Europe’s biggest farmers’ association, Copa-Cogeca, had supported a ban, arguing that labelling vegetarian food with terms that inspired thoughts of meat was deceptive.
Copa-Cogeca stated allowing such terms would open a “Pandora’s box” of complicated phrasing, but 13 organisations – including Greenpeace and WWF – prompted politicians to decline the proposed modifications.
They argued that a restriction would prevent customers from shifting to more plant-based diet plans, while weakening the EU’s environmental and health goals.
Being unable to utilize the words “steak” or “sausage” could make the products more unknown for customers, and the move would expose the EU “to ridicule,” they said.
Swedish EU legislator Jytte Guteland invited the decision, saying: “I’m going to celebrate with a vegan hamburger.”
The “sound judgment” judgment was likewise praised by the European Consumer Organisation, which said the public is “in no way puzzled by a soy steak or chickpea-based sausage, so long as it is clearly identified as vegetarian or vegan”.
The group – along with Greenpeace – was sorry for the bloc’s banning of terms like “almond milk” and “soy yoghurt” when it ruled in 2017 that plant-based items can not be marketed as dairy, stating it should be scheduled for animal products.
The labelling guidelines are part of a larger EU farming policy bundle, which parliament requires to authorize prior to striking a compromise with member states on the final policy.
Elena Walden, policy manager at the non-profit Great Food Institute Europe, called on EU nations to “clear up this mess and turn down confusing and unnecessary limitations on plant-based dairy items”.
Green legislators and advocates, including Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, have contacted the EU parliament to throw away the entire farming policy package, arguing the procedures are insufficient in helping to curb the sector’s emissions and reduce the ecological impacts of extensive factory farming.
Vegan and plant-based items identified with terms initially linked to meat have grown in appeal over the last few years.
One noteworthy beneficiary of this pattern is Bakeshop chain Greggs, which reported a big uptake in purchases of the vegan sausage roll it released in 2015.