EU set to ban meat names for veggie alternatives

April 18, 2019
3 min read

What’s in a name? The fast-growing meat substitute market may soon face this question as meat-related terms and names could be banned for veggie alternatives, following a vote from the EU’s Agriculture Committee’s in early April. Terms such as steak, sausage, escalope, burger and hamburger will no longer be allowed for vegetable-based products, if the measures pass the next stages. However, they still face a vote by the full parliament, then need to be put to member states and the European commission.

Upping the likelihood of approval is a similar ban on the use of dairy product names such as milk, cheese or yogurt for plant-based products which came into force in June 2017. Given this precedent, what can meat substitutes learn from dairy alternatives?

Misspelling, for one thing. Brand and product names like Mylk, M’lk and molk, as well as Cashewgurt and havregurt (from the Swedish havre, meaning oat), and Happy Cheeze and Sheese are among the many looking to create playful associations with the long-standing dairy-based products.

Is linking to an established product name a good idea?

Managing taste expectations is a central tenet of a new food’s journey to becoming a basket staple. Forging associations with established products can help new entrants paint a picture for shoppers of what they offer, creating a sense of familiarity.

However, this also sets stronger expectations for the new entrant to offer a similar experience to the benchmark it references. While moving away from the name of the meat product disrupts the comparison, it can work in the alternatives’ favour. This can open the door for challengers to encourage consumers to assess them as products based on their own strengths, rather than their ability to replicate the experience of the meat-based ‘real thing’.

In fact, a product’s descriptive name is arguably not as all-important as we might first think. A raft of other cues make up much of the shopping experience. The look of the product, the packaging and its location in-store all add together to create the overall perception of what shoppers take a product to offer. Placing plant-based mince next to beef mince or pulled oats next to pulled pork gives a clear indication to shoppers of where these products will fit in their favourite recipes and on their plate.

Instilling shoppers with confidence in how to use products is key. Feeling unsure how to cook or prepare new cuisines is the biggest barrier for trying new world cuisines at home – the same undoubtedly also applies to new types of products like meat alternatives.

Kiti Soininen
Kiti Soininen

Kiti manages Mintel’s UK food and drink research team, which produces some 50 reports annually spanning across the key UK food and drink industries as well as exploring topical consumer trends.

More from Mintel
  • Mintel Store
    Mintel Store
    Get smart fast with our exclusive market research reports, delivering the latest data, innovation, trends and strategic recommendations....
    View reports
  • Mintel Leap
    Mintel Leap is a revolutionary new AI-powered platform that will transform your research process....
    Book a demo
Subscribe to Mintel Spotlight
Related articles
May 21, 2024
Innovations in texture were a break-out trend from the Sweets & Snacks Expo 2024 hosted May 14-16 in Indianapolis, Indiana. From freeze-dried candy to melty baked goods, texture was a…
May 13, 2024
Who wants ice cream? Well, if we look at global ice cream consumption, the answer is: almost everyone! According to Mintel’s consumer research, nine in ten UK consumers enjoyed an…
May 10, 2024
As Indian consumers become increasingly health-conscious, the salty snacks market is undergoing a significant transformation. The traditional reliance on palm oil as a key ingredient in snacks is being questioned.

Download the Latest Market Intelligence