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What’s in a name? 25% of consumers object to meat-related words for vegetarian products

By Flora Southey contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Meat alternatives, vegan, Dairy

A survey has revealed that one in four consumers support a ban on traditionally meat-related words being used for vegetarian products.

Ingredient Communications commissioned a survey of close to 1,000 consumers across the UK and US, including vegetarians, pescatarians and meat-eaters. The survey was conducted by polling firm Surveygoo.

Of those surveyed, 25% disagreed that words like ‘sausage’, ‘burger’ or ‘steak’ should be used in isolation for vegetarian offerings.

According to the results, vegetarians were the least likely to disapprove of meat-related names, with just 18% supporting the ban.

Of the meat-eaters, 26% disagreed that meat-related words should be used for vegetarian products, and 33% of vegans supported the ban.

“It’s no secret that many in the meat industry want to stop what they see as the misrepresentation of vegetarian products,” ​said Ingredient Communications managing director, Richard Clarke.

“What is perhaps surprising is that so many consumers also seem to support a ban.

“With interest in plant-based diets increasing, and a backlash from the meat industry under way, it is time for a debate about the way vegetarian and vegan products are presented.”

If meat-related names were banned, the respondents said their preferred names for sausages would be: ‘rolls’. The top name for burgers was: ‘patties’, and the most popular name for vegetarian steaks was: ‘portions’.

Plant-based food and beverage names have drawn significant attention from governments of late.

In 2017, the Court of Justice of the European Union judged that purely plant-based products could no longer use dairy names, such as ‘milk’, ‘butter’, cheese’, or ‘yoghurt’.

2018 saw France follow suit when the government passed legislation prohibiting meat terms from being used to describe plant-based foods. 

At the time, a government representative said using meat or dairy terms in the labelling of plant-based alternatives was “deceptive marketing.” 

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