According to the European Dairy Association (EDA) plant based dairy alternative items are ‘misleading’ to customers. Almost a year later after the European Court of Justice ruled that terms suggesting dairy products were misleading, the dairy and agriculture sector are calling for member state authorities to be tougher on these practices.
In a statement issued by the EDA, Eucolait and Copa and Cogeca, they said: “It is misleading for consumers to see products like soya ‘milk’ and ‘tofu butter’ being described as milk and butter replacements when we are talking about absolutely different products whose nutritional characteristics are far from matching the unique blend of macro and micronutrients of milk and dairy.”
Secretary-general of Eucolait, Jukka Likitalo said: “[We] urge the EU to ensure that dairy terms and marketing standards remain protected in EU legislation and are respected by all supply chain partners.”
In addition, Likitalo said: “Marketing standards set out basic product specifications that have to be respected by all supply chain actors in the interest of ensuring high quality products and fair competition.”
The news of this follows on from France’s ban on the use of terms that are associated to meat on alternative products. Whether consumers are confused by plant based products labelled with such terms is unclear, with no definitive research attached. As dairy-free alternatives continue to rise in sales, the desire for distinctly clear labelling could be to drive people away from non-dairy items and boost dairy sales.
Although this is speculative, the sudden defensiveness within the last year for different labelling regulations supports this connection.