Don’t call vegan milk milk! Trading standards officials accused of insulting consumers’ intelligence

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Don’t call vegan ‘milk’ milk! Trading standards officials accused of insulting consumer intelligence after declaring war on almond milk to curb non-dairy products

  • Britain is going to force manufacturers to reclassify thousands of food products
  • It comes amid fears that consumers would mistake them for dairy products
  • Proposals from trading standards officials are ‘carefully considered’

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Marketing standards officials have been accused of insulting consumer intelligence after declaring war on almond milk in a battle against the non-dairy brand.

Britain plans to force manufacturers to reclassify thousands of foods – including those whose name plays out as non-dairy – for fear consumers would mistake them for dairy.

Such rules — which have already been rejected by the European Union — would mean renaming almond, soy and oat milks, as would the vegan spread I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.

Last night, the Defra Food Department said the proposals from trade standards officials are “carefully considered.”

Britain is going to force manufacturers to reclassify thousands of foods, including those labeled as non-dairy, for fear consumers would mistake them for dairy

Britain is going to force manufacturers to reclassify thousands of foods, including those labeled as non-dairy, for fear consumers would mistake them for dairy

But the lobbying group Plant-Based Food Alliance said, “Households… just want easy access to the products they are used to, without unelected officials taking them off supermarket shelves or forcing labeling changes. This hits companies that produce plant-based products hard and affects consumers who buy these products for health, environmental or ethical reasons.’

A summary of the submitted proposal, seen by the Daily Mail, claims that it ‘seeks to ensure a consistent and clear … distinction between dairy and plant-based products’.

Officials claimed that “product descriptions such as ‘vegan cheese’, ‘vegetable yogurt’, ‘yoghurt-style’ or ‘cheddar-type’ mislead consumers.” There are only two exceptions – if the product has a traditional name that refers to dairy, such as cream crackers, or if the usage is descriptive – such as buttery or creamy. Attempts have already been made in Washington and Brussels to impose restrictions on vegetarian alternatives. In 2021, the European Parliament rejected them after months of campaigning by consumers and businesses.

A summary of the submitted proposal claims that it “aims to ensure consistent and clear…differentiation between dairy and plant-based products”. [File image]

In the US, companies have tried to circumvent the ban by using the terms ‘Mylk’ or ‘M*lk’ or even ‘Not Milk’.

But the proposals submitted to Defra would also ban such names.

Speaking for Upfield, the company behind spreads like I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, Stephanie Holmes said, “This is totally unsustainable and inconsistent with the way people behave on a day-to-day basis.

“Consumers are not stupid and are not confused by these commonly used names.”

Britain is facing possible milk shortages in the second half of this year.

There are fears that the price of milk could fall below production costs, which could force dairy farmers out of the industry.