A Dutch satirical TV show has produced a fake lobby video message ahead of the European parliament’s vote on the vegan product labelling ban.
With just weeks to go until the European parliament is expected to vote on the use of terms like ‘sausage’ or ‘burger’ for the labelling of vegan products, a Dutch satirical TV show has made a fake lobby message from the fictional International Meat Industry.
Dutch show Zondag met Lubach’s fake lobby video pokes fun at the vote, sarcastically urging lawmakers to vote in favour of the ban. “While the meat industry has always been known for its honest and sincere advertising, these plant-based manufacturers have been deceiving customers for years and years,” the video says. “This has to stop. You can’t call a sausage a ‘sausage’ and not kill an animal.”
Talking about how animals reproduce “so there’s more of them to kill”, it jokes: “Tofu doesn’t make love to other tofu. It’s a product of hate.”
Although terms like ‘veggie burger’ or ‘vegan sausage’ have been used for decades, a recent survey shows there is little to no consumer confusion, as long as products are clearly labelled vegetarian or vegan. But the meat industry has been demanding, for several years now, that these denominations should only be used for meat products.
The TV show’s video is reflective of the views of many campaigners and institutions, including the European Vegetarian Union, which told Plant Based News: “The image of the gullible consumer, unable to discern a meat-based food product from a plant-based one — even if plainly distinguished, is paternalistic at best and an insult at worse.”
The EU prohibited the use of terms like ‘vegan cheese’ and ‘almond milk’ back in 2017, but sales of vegan dairy and meat alternatives have been rising over the past few years, continue to rise, and are unlikely to be affected.
The dairy and meat industries argue that terms traditionally associated with their products should be protected. On the announcement of the dairy terms ban, Alexander Anton, secretary general of the European Dairy Association, said it was “a good day for dairy, a good day for European citizens and a good day for Europe”.
But, for example, a study conducted by the Federation of German Consumer Organisations found that only “four percent of German customers have ever unintentionally bought a vegetarian product instead of a meat product or vice versa. This very low number illustrates that labeling which includes references to conventional sales denominations is not perceived as problematic by the general public.”
EURACTIV, which organises policy events, online and offline, in Brussels and other European capitals, will be holding a Virtual Conference to discuss naming and labelling regulations around plant-based products on October 15.