Vegetarian Butcher versus European ban on vegetarian meat names

Arjen Lubach responded to this earlier, you already read it on MarketingTribune.

Photo: Social action Let’s face the confusion – Consumers who are not confused use a special filter on Instagram according to DVS and speak out (“I am not confused”)

The Vegetarian Butcher launched a visual petition on Instagram to show the European Parliament that consumers are not confused by meat-related names for vegetarian products. With the visual petition, which precedes the vote in the European Parliament on October 20, De Vegetarian Butcher wants to show that it is abundantly clear to consumers that vegetarian products do not contain animal meat.

Misleading product names
According to some MEPs, names such as “Vegan Chicken Pieces” and “Vegetarian Burgers” would be misleading because the products do not contain animal meat. Hugo Verkuil, CEO of De Vegetarian Slager, refutes this deception: ‘Time and again it has been shown that consumers do not get confused, but actually feel helped by such naming. In addition, our product names make it easier to choose plant-based products more often, which is sorely needed to achieve the European Union’s climate goals. ‘

Originated in own community
The visual petition, an AR filter on Instagram, was created in response to a meme shared in 2017 by one of the followers of The Vegetarian Butcher. Then the NVWA triggered an earlier edition of the #schnitzelgate discussion by stating that product names like “Vegetarian Speckjes” are misleading. “We wanted to make a live version of that existing meme using augmented reality. This allows our followers to express themselves in a unique way on this matter. The discussion thus literally takes on a face, with which we can show the European Parliament that there is absolutely no confusion, ”Verkuil says.

Users of the Instagram filter are asked to also tag the channel of the European Parliament. A compilation of participants in the visual petition will be presented to the European Parliament on the day of the vote.

Against consumer certificates

“We believe that the references to animal meat products mean that the consumer knows what kind of vegetarian product to expect in terms of taste, structure and preparation,” adds Jaap Korteweg, founder of De Vegetarian Slager. “If our Vegan Chicken Pieces are confusing because they don’t contain animal chicken, then a slave finch or a rump steak is just as confusing. There is neither lettuce nor finch in a slave finch and judging by its name, a rump steak will not benefit your teeth. There are plenty of examples of this kind, also elsewhere in Europe. ”

Not only in the public debate is it clear that a ban is not widely supported. Figures also indicate this. In a European survey * with more than eleven thousand participants in different countries, it appeared that the majority of consumers are not against the broader use of meat terms. “The vast majority of consumers have no problems with meat names for vegetarian products. Moreover, because we have added “vegetarian” or “vegan” to our product names, consumers know exactly what they are buying. Nobody chooses our products out of confusion, ”says Korteweg.


In all of Europe

The discussion surrounding the names of meat substitutes, called #schnitzelgate, is a topic of conversation in several European countries. In Germany, the Minister of Agriculture wanted to ban the names “soy schnitzel” and “vegan curry sausage” at the end of 2016. In France, there was talk of a law that ensures that producers of vegetarian sausage can be fined up to three hundred thousand euros. Guidelines are also currently being discussed in Belgium.

Whether the EU will impose a ban on meat names for vegetarian products is not yet certain. Agreement must be reached with Member States before a ban can be introduced. However, the vote in the European Parliament will determine course. That is why De Vegetarian Butcher wants to send a clear signal to the members of the European Parliament prior to the vote in Brussels.

About #schnitzelgate
The discussion about the names of meat substitutes, #schnitzelgate, has been going on for some time. In 2012, De Vegetarian Slager was first approached by the NVWA about the naming of its products, after which a few minor adjustments followed. Minced meat became Minced, Tuna turned into Fish Free Tuna. All product names were additionally provided with the prefix “vegetarian”. In 2017 it was another hit, when De Vegetarian Butcher of the NVWA was forced to change a large number of product names because they would be misleading. The NVWA later apologized for this; it would only concern a few entries on the website. In the meantime, the recurring theme has become a topic of discussion, including on Sunday with Lubach. The program ridiculed the ban on meat names and attracted 1.7 million viewers with this episode. The petition of international organization ProVeg against the vegan burger ban subsequently reached the milestone of 100,000 signatures.

* source: BEUC, The European Consumer Organization, Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs, European Consumer Association, June 2020

About The Vegetarian Butcher
A decade ago, founder Jaap Korteweg started his food revolution in which he aimed to replace animal meat with the new, vegetable meat and thus remove the animal from the food chain. Meanwhile, the food revolution has spread worldwide. The Vegetarian Butcher has the ambition to become the largest butcher in the world, with vegetarian meat that can compete with animal meat in taste, structure and experience, for all meat lovers who do not want to miss the experience of meat. After the outbreak of swine fever in the Netherlands, Jaap decided to become a vegetarian, but missed his beloved meat. It became clear to him that he needed to find something that could satisfy his craving for meat, without having to eat animals. So, together with a team, he created a complete range of butchers so that meat lovers, including Jaap himself, could continue to enjoy their favorite meat dishes. The new meat was a fact, and with it his mission to become the largest Butcher in the world with meat that does not require an animal. De Vegetarian Slager’s products are now sold at more than 20,000 points of sale in 30 countries. ‘

(source: DVS)

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