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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

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France bans use of 'steak,' 'sausage' to describe vegetarian products

Plant-based meat alternatives will have to come up with new terminology in France. The country adopted a measure banning plant-based products from using the same names as food from dead animals.
France will become the first European Union country to ban the use of words like "steak" and "sausage" from being applied to plant-based food, according to an official decree published on Thursday. The ban, which was originally agreed to in 2020, will go into effect in October.

"It will not be possible to use sector-specific terminology traditionally associated with meat and fish to designate products that do not belong to the animal world and which, in essence, are not comparable," the official decree reads.

The regulation only applies to products made in France, and the country's largest farm lobby FNSEA said it did not go far enough as it left the door open to imports. It said that similar laws should be enacted "at the European level," but the EU rejected a similar proposal in 2020.

Some terms, such as "butter," "milk," and "cheese" are already protected on the European level and cannot be applied to plant-based products. Words like "burger" are, however, allowed to be used on meat alternatives.

The market for vegetarian and vegan meat-like food has surged in recent years as more people concerned about climate change, animal welfare, and nutrition turns to plant-based diets. This has in turn attracted major investment from global agrifood groups hoping to capitalize on a trend towards healthy eating.

Angel investors, venture capitalists, as well as increased investments from agrifood giants such as Cargill, Danone and Nestle, have helped boost growth to 19% per year.
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