A recent survey has shown that there needs to be more clarity between plant-based and meat products while shopping. The results are surprising.
ProVeg International is a global organisation recognised by the United Nations. Its mission is to replace half of the world's consumption of animal-based products with plant-based foods and cell-based alternatives by 2040. On January 4th, the Polish division of ProVeg conducted a survey on the purchase of plant-based meat substitutes.
How often do we buy plant-based substitutes by mistake?
In the survey, more than 1,000 respondents answered the question, "Did you happen to buy plant-based meat substitutes instead of meat products by mistake last year?".
- 86% of the respondents answered that nothing of the sort had happened to them,
- 14% admitted to having made such a mistake, half of them only once.
On December 5th, 2023, the provisional Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (Polish: Ministerstwo Rolnictwa i Rozwoju Wsi, MRiRW) released a draft regulation that would prohibit the use of terms such as 'ham', 'sausage', 'smoked meat' and 'sausage' for vegetable-based products. A public consultation period on this regulation is open until January 8th, 2024.
According to the ProVeg survey results, the ban on using meat-related names for plant-based products is not meant to protect consumers who purchase meat products, despite what is advertised. Consumers are not confused by zoonotic names on plant-based products. Rather, such bans are intended to make it more difficult for individuals who wish to limit their meat consumption.
Is "lentil ham" still ham?
A person who is used to eating meat and wishes to reduce their meat consumption for health, humanitarian or environmental reasons is more likely to choose a "vegan ham" over a "plant-based lentil block" in the store. This is because the former sounds more familiar, while the latter may be uncertain regarding taste and texture.
The only people who object to the use of "meat" names for meat substitutes that highlight their plant-based nature are the producers who raise animals for meat. They fear that their profits will decrease due to reduced meat consumption. At the request of this industry and its lobbyists, laws such as the one proposed by the interim ministry in December are being developed.
ProVeg Poland encourages everyone to express their opposition to the bill directly to the MRiRW email box: firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone can do this.