Happy New Year, folks!
For many people, the beginning of the year represents somewhat of a new start, and is often accompanied by different kinds of personal resolutions. Based on the fact that more and more plant-based alternatives to meat and dairy products are becoming available, it's safe to assume that for many people, cutting down on consumption of animal products has become important, or at least something to strive for.
One country that has picked up on this trend is Germany. However, the state's agricultural minister, Christian Schmidt, actually is under the impression that even though many plant-based products that imitate meat clearly state "vegetarian," "vegan," "dairy-free" or "meat-free" in the name or on the packaging, consumers still might not know what exactly they are purchasing. He therefore would like there to be a new ban on meat names for plant-based products.
"I favor them being banned in the interest of clear consumer labeling," Schmidt told a German newspaper called Bild, per Deutsche Welle. "I don't want anyone to pretend that these pseudo-meat dishes are actual meat dishes."
Essentially, the idea is that products with names like "vegan curry sausage" or "vegetarian schnitzel" could be misleading for consumers. He wants words like "sausage," "ham," "pork" and other meat products to remain as staple parts of diets and not be associated with the plant-based movement at all.
According to Deutsche Welle, Schmidt has actually already put in a request for the ban in October 2016 in Lower Saxony, which is a state in Germany with a large number of livestock farms. The German Vegetarian Association, however, turned him down, stating that "names that are used for animal-based products should without a doubt also be legal to use for vegetarian substitute products."
Both vegan and vegetarian products have seen an increase in popularity over the past few years in Germany. According to a research paper by the Institute for the Study of Trade, revenue for vegan and vegetarian products actually grew by more than 100 percent between 2010 and 2015 -- so unfortunately for Schmidt, plant-based alternatives are probably here to stay.