This week in Europe, the EU have decreed that veggie burgers are no longer allowed to be called veggie burgers. Instead, they have suggested they be deemed “veggie discs”, in what seems like it could be quite an alienating move for meat eaters seeking less meaty options. The European Parliament have decided that under Article 17 of Regulation (EU) 1169/2011 – the main law relating to food labelling in the European Union – names currently used for alternative-meat products are now exclusively to be used for products containing meat.
This must come as a blow to the plant-based movement that has been picking up great steam with the creation and clever marketing of breakthrough new products such as The Beyond Burger, JUST Egg and Impossible Foods.
Thus far, it is just the EU that have put this caveat on the wording and labelling of meatless meats (a phrase, though inelegant, that is explanatory) as there still hasn’t been a satisfactory replacement.
The debate in the US has been ongoing as the American meat industry takes on the marketing terminology of faux meats, with Missouri banning the term “meat” as used for plant-based alternatives late last August.
Will Asia follow suit? And, if so, what will we call the Impossible Burger, The Beyond Burger and our Hong Kong–created Omnipork? Perhaps Possible Plants, Omniporcini and Beyond Baloney (probably still deemed too meaty for the new EU ban)…
This will be a big test to the marketing strategies of these new mock-meat companies that thus far have been making eating plant based quite chic. If they have to start calling their products veggie discs, will they still attract meat lovers?
A burger by any other name should taste as sweet, but will as many carnivores be enticed to try it?
While we can still call them burgers, here’s where to find them here in Hong Kong:
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