One in four British consumers believe that vegan products should not use terms enjoyed by their meat counterparts, such as steak or burger, new research has found.
The study, by specialist PR agency Ingredient Communications, has revealed fresh insights in the debate about the naming of vegetarian products.
It explored attitudes to the naming of meat-free products. The survey asked nearly 1,000 people (499 in the UK and 484 in the US), including vegetarians, vegans, pescatarians and meat-eaters.
Across all groups, 25% of respondents said manufacturers of vegetarian products should not be permitted to use meat-related names like sausage, burger or steak.
Vegetarians were the least likely to disapprove of meat-related names, with only 18% supporting a ban.
However, vegans had a very different perspective. They were even more likely than meat-eaters to oppose meat-free products using meat-related names, with one in three supporting a ban.
They were also the group least likely to buy a meat-free product if it was labelled with a word such as sausage, burger or steak.
The UK isn’t the only place where vegetarian or vegan products with meat or dairy-related names are the subject of controversy.
Elsewhere, they’re being banned. In 2017, the European Court of Justice prohibited the use of names such as milk, butter and cheese for non-dairy products.
Last year, France passed legislation preventing vegetarian products from being labelled in the same way as traditional animal products.
And in the US, companies in Missouri are now banned from “misrepresenting a product as meat” if it doesn’t come from livestock or poultry.