The German consumer protection group, VSW, had a bone to pick with the German food company, Tofu Town. What was their crime? Apparently, Tofu Town has been misleading their consumers with vegetarian product names, like “Soyatoo Tofu Butter” and “Veggie Cheese”. But after a brief investigation, it’s clear that consumers aren’t befuddled and confused. Instead, it’s the Dairy Industry that made a stink.

Vegan milk labeling breaks with EU regulations

The German consumer protection group, VSW, said that vegetarian products which use dairy-style names go against regulations set by the European Union back in 2013.

Therefore, products that do not contain any mammal secretions should not have names that include any of the following words: milk, butter, cheese, cream cheese, yogurt, etc. These are words that belong only to animal products.

Does milk only belong to animal products?

Tofu Town defended its food labeling by saying that along with dairy-style terms (such as milk or cheese), they also include words that clearly indicate the product’s plant-based characteristics. Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough to convince the European Court of Justice (ECJ), who ruled that it’s illegal to use words like “milk” and “cheese” to label and market Vegan items.

Vegan milk consumers aren’t misled by the word “milk”

German food company, Tofu Town, also argued that the consumers interested in their soy and tofu products are not thrown off by typical dairy-style words.

Consumers don’t question their soy milk because it uses a name typically assigned to mammal secretions. Nonetheless, the courts were firm in their interpretation. However, if consumers aren’t confused by these terms, why was the ECJ so strict?

Vegan milk: a threat to dairy industries?

In an attempt to protect an industry that is under continual and growing scrutiny, the dairy advocates seem to have highjacked the word, “milk”, along with all other words that were privy to the dairy industry before the advent of plant-based alternatives.

Additionally, the dairy industry faces tough competition from plant-based alternatives.

Is it a coincidence that the dairy industry is claiming the rights to the word “milk” when the plant-based market is projected to grow to over $20 billion dollars by the year 2022? Perhaps regulations like these only reveal how desperate the dairy industry really is. They’re clutching at the straws, figuratively of course, since they no longer feed their livestock with it anymore.