Time to ditch the plant-based copycats?

By Bethan Grylls

- Last updated on GMT

Almost a third of UK adults don’t want plant-based food that looks like an animal product. Credit: Getty/ArtMarie
Almost a third of UK adults don’t want plant-based food that looks like an animal product. Credit: Getty/ArtMarie

Related tags Regulation meat-free Research alternative protein Trends

Almost a third of UK adults don’t want plant-based food that resembles their animal counterparts, finds research commissioned by law firm Browne Jacobson.

According to the research undertaken by Opinium, one in five UK adults are confusing plant-based foods with their animal counterparts as a result of branding or labelling, with as many as 38% stating that plant-based producers should not be allowed to name such commodities after animals-based products.

In fact, 31% said they’re less likely to buy plant-based if they bear a resemblance to animal-based foods - and for who follow a vegan diet, this increases to almost half of the respondents (49%).

This research follows previous controversy in the EU and UK around the banning of animal product terms to describe plant-based food; and Browne Jacobson says this demonstrates support that terminology should be unconnected to animal products.

Paul Kirkpatrick, partner and head of the manufacturing and industrials sector, believes this is a call to action for the UK Government.

“This research stresses the need for tighter regulation on the branding, labelling and marketing of plant-based products to protect consumers from confusion. We are aware of restrictions or the banning of certain animal product derived terminology in other countries and this research suggests further measures may need to be implemented in the UK,” ​he commented.

“Misleading food labelling and marketing practices can lead to severe consequences for food and drink producers, including regulatory enforcement, forcing producers to undertake a costly re-branding exercise,” ​added associate Conor Wileman. “In light of this research, it will be important for businesses producing plant-based food to stay abreast of UK and EU food law developments to ensure their products are compliant with any new regulations and statutory guidance.”

The survey was conducted over three days (from 24 – 28 of November 2023) to a nationally representative sample of 2,000 UK adults, weighted to Office of National Statistics (ONS) criteria. The built-in demographics were by gender, age, region and city.

Interested in trends? You can read our exclusive report offering insight into 2024's hottest food and drink trends here.

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1 comment

Plant-based copycats

Posted by Carol,

Who needs these highly processed meat look-alikes?
What’s wrong with eating real food the way it grows?
Beans, nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetables?
I don’t need my beans rolled into a cute little sausage shape
with all kinds of additives, preservatives and “natural” flavors to enjoy them.

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