It claimed that the tone, message and nature of the campaign sent the wrong signal to those currently following, or considering, a plant-based diet.
The group took particular umbrage at the slogan ‘To B12 or Not B12’. It said this suggested that vitamin B12 – often supplemented in a vegan diet through fortified foods such as milk alternatives, some breakfast cereals and yeast extracts – could only be found in animal products.
“We believe this campaign, running at a time when a record-breaking number of people were taking part in the annual Veganuary campaign, some for the first-time, will mislead the public into thinking that vegan diets cannot be nutritionally adequate,” stated the Vegan Society.
Supporting healthy lifestyles
“The British Dietetics Association works with The Vegan Society to show those who choose a vegan diet that well-planned vegan diets can support healthy living in people of all ages.”
The society claimed that the adverts were in direct conflict with Government messaging around health, the environment and supplementation.
Vegan Society campaigns manager Mark Banahan added: “The AHDB has set out to mislead the public by denigrating the choices of people who don’t want to eat animal products.
Most vegans are aware of the need to supplement B12 in fortified foods or a vitamin supplement and by doing so vegans can maintain a balanced diet. It is disappointing to see the ADHB resorting to such scare tactics in response to the growing interest in veganism and in reducing animal products.”
Yet to respond
The AHDB has yet to put out an official response to the Vegan Society’s allegations.
A similar argument has been made against the vegan community in the past by members of the meat production industry.
At the end of 2019, the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers pushed back at what it described as the “creeping tide of vegan propaganda promoted in some parts of the media”.
It claimed that a broadcast aired on BBC 1 devoted in excess of 10% of its total air time to vegan viewpoints and included two possible subliminal messages.
Meanwhile, chocolates for Easter, sauces from South Korea and plant-based meatballs all feature in our roundup of vegan and plant-based product launches from food manufacturers.