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Heura ordered to remove “meat” billboard as plant-based dispute rages on

2022-07-20 foodingredientsfirst

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Heura has received a legal notice from the meat industry after the Spanish plant-based company advertised on a billboard in Madrid with the words “meat”. This is the latest move in the meat versus plant-based debate, which is heating up following legal complaints and judgments over wording and phrasing.

 

While the meat industry says it is protecting terms for real meat that should not be allowed to be used by plant-based counterparts, the plant-based companies claim they should be entitled to use free speech to describe their products.

Some claim there is confusion on both sides, with meat players claiming that consumers could be confused over labeling, which uses words like “nuggets’, “meatballs”, “chicken”, and so on, for plant-based products. 

But, plant-based specialists refute this claim, saying that consumers do know the difference and, ultimately, they should be the ones to decide what the labeling should be. 

Last week, the department of agriculture in South Africa banned the use of meat-related names and phrases, such as meatballs, chicken-stile, biltong or nuggets, for plant-based products. The country’s authorities are moving swiftly and demand the removal of any product with a “misleading label”.

Censorship?The phrasing of plant-based product labels are being hotly debated at the moment.
In Heura’s case, food activist and director of the Social Movement team and co-founder of the company, Bernat Añaños, believes that the debate on the meaning of meat should not be in court but rather that the voice should be the final consumer. 

“For this reason, and after having received a legal requirement from the meat industry, we have decided to summon the population to try our proposal for plant-based meat so that they themselves can judge whether we are meat or not. There is no law against using the term,” he says. 

“The debate goes beyond the name and the billboard. We must focus on the great humanitarian, ethical and sustainability challenges.”

Heura Foods placed two large billboards in strategic areas of Madrid wher people could read the word “meat” together with 100% plant-based to raise awareness about the benefits of a plant-based diet and accelerate the protein transition, Añaños argues.

Heura aimed to amplify that the option to choose between the meat of animal origin and plant-based meat is readily available.

Amendment 171 for dairy
The dairy industry has also been involved in the same kind of dispute over words and phrases that, it says, should not be allowed to be appropriated by plant-based dairy alternatives. 

In October 2020, the European Commission voted to ban dairy-related terms such as ‘buttery’ and “creamy” for plant-based/non-dairy alternatives. However, European Parliament later withdrew the amendment. 

 

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