Ban “Meat” Names for Vegetarian Products? Survey Explores

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Walking through the aisles of 2019 Natural Products Expo West shows that plant-based diets are in demand, and there is no shortage of plant-based alternatives to meat to help people make the dietary shift. But as more people seek out meat alternatives, a question has been raised: Should there be a ban on meat-related names for vegetarian products? Nearly 1,000 consumers–including vegetarians, vegans, pescatarians and meat-eaters in the U.S. and UK–responded to that question in a recent survey commissioned by Ingredient Communications and conducted by Surveygoo.

The finding: Across all groups, 75% of respondents said manufacturers of vegetarian products should be permitted to use meat-related names like sausage, burger or steak. Vegetarians were the most likely to approve of meat-related names; 82% support the use of those words. Among meat eaters, 74% were fine with the wording.

Vegans were the least supportive group, with 33% saying vegetarian products should not be allowed to have meat-related names.

Another difference between vegetarians and vegans: 49% of the vegetarians surveyed said they were more likely to buy a meat-free product if it was labelled with a word such as sausage, burger or steak; only 19% of vegans said the same. Nearly 6 in 10 vegans (57%) said they were less likely to buy a product that had a meat-related name.

More findings: 58% of all respondents and 65% of vegetarians who approved of meat-related names on vegetarian products indicated that the terms describe “the nature and format of the product accurately.” On the flip side, 60% of respondents who disapproved of meat-related names said it was because the terms are misleading.

More on this survey can be found here.

Related news: NPA: National Standard Needed for Plant-Based Food Labeling

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