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The Weekly News Source for Wyoming's Ranchers, Farmers and AgriBusiness Community

It’s Time for Truthfulness

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Every now and then, I read news about the fake meat industry and what they are trying to do to promote their products. They seem to be pretty good at stretching the truth when they use words such as “plant-based meat,” “steak” and “sausage” to describe their products.  

In reality, it should be called false advertising. Now is the time to get the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and others, to get plant-based products to not use names associated with real meat products. 

Farmers have every right to grow the plants needed for these products, but the problem is in calling the end product “meat.” These trendy products are advertised to be better for the earth and healthier for humans, but they don’t give any evidence this is true. Still, some people have bought into it. 

The beef industry doesn’t want to be like the dairy industry where there is coconut milk, almond milk, oat milk and other non-animal products called milk. The dairy industry has let these plant-based products get away with false names for some time, and now they may not be able to fix the problem.

France has stepped up and issued a decree to ban the use of meat names on plant-based foods. France is the first country in the European Union to impose such a restriction. 

“It will not be possible to use sector-terminology traditionally associated with meat and fish to designate products that do not belong to the animal world and which, in essence, are not comparable,” the official decree reads.

The regulation only applies to products made in France. The country’s largest farm lobby, National Federation of Farmer’s Unions, says the decree did not go far enough, as it left the door open to imports. The French Meat Industry Association welcomed the implementation of the law initially adopted in 2020. 

The association said, “This provision is a first step on French territory, a pioneer in the protection of its names, which should be extended at the European level.” 

Terms such as “milk,” “butter” and “cheese” are already banned at the European level on products not of animal origin. The word “burger” would still be allowed as it does not specifically refer to meat. 

The global plant-based market size is expected to reach $12.32 billion by the year 2027, rising at a market growth of 18.3 percent a year. The availability of a broad range of plant-based products like chicken, beef, pork and seafood is contributing to the high popularity of these products among consumers across the globe. The increasing number of product innovation and merchandising strategies within the plant-based market is anticipated to spur the growth of the market.

So far, these plant-based products are not much competition for real meat products. The plant-based products do have a lot of dollars behind them and are part of a trend, but with our beef and lamb checkoff dollars, we should stay ahead of them. I just wish a few people would quit messing with the Beef Checkoff in some states.

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