Author: Nicola Harris.
The EU already has some of the strictest food labelling rules in the world. Terms such as “vegan cheese” and “oat milk” have already been banned from packaging and advertising, but a new amendment due to be voted on by the European Commission next week could take restrictions even further.
Amendment 171 will ban the use of words and phrases used by the dairy industry and could make it illegal to highlight the health and sustainability benefits of plant-based foods. Even a simple tweet or advert stating the carbon emissions of dairy and plant-based alternatives could be banned. Not only that, but the amendment could even prohibit plant-based foods using photos of their own products on packaging, and the use of cartons or packaging also used by the dairy industry.
Terms which could be banned:
- “does not contain milk”
- “alternative to butter”
- “free from milk”
- “dairy free”
- “creamy texture”
Why is this happening?
The milk lobby says that current packaging of plant based milks confuse consumers who are unable to tell the difference between plant milks and dairy. The amendment was tabled by French MEP Eric Andrieu who tried and failed to ban terms such as “veggie burger” in 2020.
Can you tell the difference between cows, oats and soy? Why not take the test for yourself, and see whether this AM 171 necessary or just an attempt to censor the plant-based food industry.
Why is this REALLY happening?
Sales of plant-based milk sales are booming and the dairy industry is feeling the heat. In recent years, sales of plant-based drinks have been growing at double-digit rates in both the US and Europe. Within the plant-based segment, milk alternatives stand out because they already represent a sizable part of the overall milk market. The total share in retail value is estimated at 14% in the US and at 10% in the EU.
Consumers are turning their backs on dairy due to a growing awareness of animal exploitation, climate chaos and public health. Often, plant-based competitors position themselves as a more sustainable alternative given the lower CO2 emissions per glass. Combined with harrowing scenes from dairy investigations and animal vigils outside slaughterhouses, it’s a no brainer.
There are now over 50 different types of plant-based milks on sale in the UK. The range of choice along with mainstream marketing, clever branding and public outreach is fueling a food revolution towards healthier and more sustainable diets.
In 2020 the animal agriculture industry lost the battle of the burger in the EU and now they want to hide the damaging foodprint of dairy in an attempt to slow down or even reverse the trend towards plant-based dairy alternatives.
ProVeg have launched a petition which has attracted over 400,000 signatures to stop amendment 171. It is supported by a coalition of non-profits and businesses including Animal Save Movement, Compassion in World Farming and Oatly. Even companies that sell dairy such as Upfield are throwing their support behind the campaign.