France will ban labeling plant-based foods as meat or fish

France is considering banning the use of terms such as “steak” and “sausage” to describe plant-based foods, a decree published Thursday said.

The market for plant-based imitation “meat” has exploded, attracting major investment from global food companies hoping to capitalize on a healthy eating trend of consuming less red meat.

France will be the first country in the European Union to impose such restrictions when the law takes effect in October. In 2020, European parliamentarians rejected a similar proposal, supported by farmers.

“It will not be possible to use sectoral 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 states.

The regulation only applies to products made in France, leaving the door open for exports, which means the regulation does not go far enough, said the country’s biggest agricultural lobby.

Interbev, the French meat industry association, also welcomed the implementation of the law originally passed in 2020.

“This provision is a first step on French territory, a pioneer in the protection of its names, which should be extended to European level,” she said in a press release.

Terms such as ‘milk’, ‘butter’ and ‘cheese’ are already banned at EU level for products that are not of animal origin.

The word “burger” – used by many brands including US companies Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods to attract consumers – would still be allowed because the term does not specifically refer to meat, an Interbev representative said.

Angel investors and venture capitalists as well as increased investment from agribusiness companies such as Cargill, Danone and Nestlé have helped push the sector’s projected annual growth to 19% over the next five years, ResearchAndMarkets reported. .

Updated: June 30, 2022, 10:30 p.m.

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