The European Vegetarian Union (EVU) is the umbrella organisation which groups together most of Europe's national vegetarian societies and associations.
Unilever said the collaboration is specifically aimed at attracting meat-reducing flexitarians.
Vice president for food at Unilever UK and Ireland, Andre Burger, said: “Opting for a flexitarian diet is no longer a niche trend but one which has immense mainstream appeal. That’s why through our partnership with the EVU, we want to make it easier for our vegetarian and
flexitarian consumers to identify which of our products meet their dietary needs and to encourage more informed and healthier eating choices.”
A statement issued by Unilever, which is jointly headquartered in London and Rotterdam, said the partnership was part of its Sustainable Living Plan through which the firm has pledged to improve the nutritional quality of its product portfolio.
EVU spokesman, Floris de Graad, said it was a landmark moment for the EVU. “It is the first time we have been able to partner with a company that intends to bring so many of its products under the V-Label scheme. It is also great news for anyone wanting to reduce the amount of meat in their diet.
“Now, they simply need to look for our V-label on Unilever’s packaging and they can trust that every product featuring it meets the EVU’s strict definition of vegetarian food.”
According to the guidelines, cheese may not bear the logo if it is made with the animal-derived enzyme rennet. Eggs from battery hens, GMO ingredients and royal jelly are also prohibited. Honey is authorised for vegetarian products but not vegan-labelled ones.
A spokesperson for EVU's Swiss branch said companies pay an annual license fee for every product that bears the logo, which is used to cover its administration and testing costs.
The logo, which was designed by Italian artist Bruno Nascimben in 1985 and has been legally registered since 1996, already appears on a limited number of Unilever products across Europe.
Meanwhile figures from a 2016 iVOX survey pour the Belgian Vegetarian Association EVA suggest that 13.4% of Belgians eat neither meat nor fish at least three times per week.
Some of these brands will also launch information platforms either in-store or online in order to give consumers recipe ideas “to help them manage their meat consumption without sacrificing the quality of flavour of their home-cooked meals,” said the company.