There are legislative moves afoot from the meat and dairy industry to prevent vegan products such as sausages and burgers being called as such. That industry wishes to protect these commonly used descriptions from those pesky vegan competitors. It’s proposed that the humble veggie-burger and vegan sausage should be described as veggie discs or vegan tubes.

Vegan on Female First

Vegan on Female First

This is not the first attempt to use language as protectionist control for the meat and dairy industry. Mostly the logic presented is to prevent consumer confusion. Soya milk was launched in the 1960’s by the company I now have the honour of running. Then it was forced to be named ‘liquid food of plant origin’, later changing to ‘Plantmilk’, then to soya milk. No one uses any other description but soya milk (rice milk, oak milk etc.) - whether they are a user or not.

Maybe the answer is to deal with such legislation and to have fun, there is already a growing use of alternative descriptions and spellings such as mylk, berger or sosage. This is a pragmatic use of the 26 letters we currently use. I can see no way in which the phonic outcome of a spelling can be policed. So why wouldn’t producers or consumers see through the thin vale and speak milk, burger or sausage whatever the legislators set as allowable.

If it is considered by the meat and dairy industry that to restrict or prevent vegan name products within the market place under a guise of preventing consumer confusion, they are utterly out of touch with reality.

Historically, the proof of the vegan pudding is that this type of attempt to control is completely useless. I’m sure every reader knows what soya milk is but may not realise that for a couple of decades there has been no such product name on our shelves. The milk lobby helped to ban the Soya ‘milk’ description decades ago. Has this stopped consumers from purchasing the product and calling it what it is? The evidence speaks for itself: of course not.

The meat and dairy industry should be careful: for there is growing confusion about changing animal names to a meat name, pigs- pork, cows are beef etc. If sausages and burgers are for meat products it could be argued that these should be 100% meat. What descriptions would be less confusing? ‘Dead cow burger’ or ‘pig flesh sausage’ many would argue would be a more accurate, less confusing starting point.

Simply put, if the meat industry wins the current argument, the vegan industry will become even more inventive in using spellings. Vegans can and will use words like berger that phonically sound the same as everyone uses.

MORE: Is veganism a religion? 

Tagged in