Just don’t call it bacon. That’s the position some European politicians and meat industry groups have taken as they’ve recently called on vegetarian “meat” companies to, for the love of brisket, please stop branding their products as meat.
The Economist reports there’s a growing wave of pushback to European veggie “butchers” and faux-meat makers from the actually-made-from-animals meat industry. In Germany and Netherlands, politicians have called for legal protections for meat products like schnitzel and bacon. They’ve argued that labelling vegan and vegetarian meats as bacon or sausage creates consumer confusion, but let’s be real: Has anyone ever stared at a package of Tofurkey and thought she was getting a Butterball?
It’s more likely a defensive move on the meat industry’s part. As growing numbers of Europeans (and everywhere else) adopt plant-based dietary habits, the traditional meat industry needs to protect its slice of the chicken pot pie. The Economist notes that 20 percent of sausage rolls sold by the Netherlands’ largest supermarket chain comes from a company called The Vegetarian Butcher.
Plenty of food and beverage products do have legal protections, of course. There’s Champagne, which must come from Champagne, France; and Iberico Ham, which has its own D.O.P. Protected Source of Origin. Next up: Bacon™?