Parliament has found no evidence that “vegetarian burgers” are misleading for consumers, it was announced this morning.
The House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee has raised concerns that an EU amendment to ban the use of words like ‘sausage’ and ‘burger’ to describe foods that don’t contain meat would in fact reduce consumer clarity and serve as a barrier to growth for a burgeoning sector of the food industry.
Ultimately, it would make it more challenging for people to reduce the amount of meat in their diet at a time when government should be seeking to encourage the opposite, the Committee concluded.
Back in April, the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development agreed to seek to restrict the use of descriptions like “sausage”, “burger” and “steak” to apply only to products containing meat and not to vegetarian alternatives.
But in its review, members of the House of Lords Committee heard no evidence that consumers had felt they were misled by meat-free products and less than 4% of people had ever unintentionally bought a vegetarian product instead of a meat-free version.
Further, witnesses were unanimous in the view that current naming conventions around vegetarian burgers and sausages in particular are clear and easy to understand.
The Committee therefore challenge the stated justification of the amendment to “prohibit certain commercial practices that are misleading for consumers” and contest that without evidence of a problem, legislative action by the EU is unnecessary and would undermine EU policy objectives on climate change, the environment and public health.
The full letter can be read HERE.