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Cream of the crop

4 June, 2021

It’s a good time to be a plant-based product in Europe.  

Last month, a Barcelona court denied the Spanish meat industry’s attempt to take legal action against plant-based meat brand Heura for a controversial billboard which pointed out the carbon footprint of beef burgers.  

Recently the EU also announced a major U-turn in its stance on plant-based products, withdrawing a proposal to restrict the rights of dairy alternatives to market themselves as such. As we reported previously, the proposed Amendment 171 would have not only banned the use of descriptive terms such as “buttery” or “creamy” for non-dairy products but would have prevented these products from highlighting their comparatively lower environmental impacts.  

The Spanish court ruling and EU’s about-face are good news, and not only for plant-based brands. A transition towards more plant-based diets has an important role to play in climate action – something the EU itself has recognised. Clear signposting (like the kind that helps consumers contextualise dairy alternatives or understand the climate impact of a burger) will be essential to helping this transition happen in a consumer-driven way. Such marketing is just one of many behavioural change strategies which can help tip audiences towards plant-based diets.  

With meat and dairy alternatives on the rise, pushback from incumbent industries is to be expected. But it should go without saying that plant-based brands must remain free to promote their products in a way that is appealing, understandable, and – in the case of climate credentials – scientifically accurate. And if this marketing helps to normalise plant-based products? We’ll raise a glass (of creamy soy milk-alternative) to that! 

By Louise Podmore

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