EU ruling coud help Australian plant-based food exporters

Friday, 06 August, 2021

EU ruling coud help Australian plant-based food exporters

Plant-based foods is a growing segment in Europe but the EU market is heavily regulated and plant-based foods are no exception. However, now one of the rules that limited the marketing of plant-based food has been lifted, which could be good news for Australian plant-based food exporters.

Following on from a 2017 ruling that banned the plant-based industry from using terms like ‘milk’, ‘cheese’ and ‘yoghurt’ in Europe, the European Parliament initially passed Amendment 171 in late 2020. This amendment effectively banned dairy-related wording such as ‘buttery’ and ‘creamy’ for plant-based substitutes, but now the Amendment 171 has been dropped (as at May 2021).

This means that exporters can now use:

  • similar packaging formats such as a carton for plant-based milk or a block for plant-based margarine;
  • visual images that could imitate or evoke dairy;
  • science-based claims comparing products to their dairy counterparts;
  • allergen information that relates them to dairy; and
  • dairy-related descriptive wording: examples include ‘creamy’, ‘buttery’, ‘use like cooking cream’ or ‘alternative to yoghurt’.

Some restrictions still apply to plant-based products and are enforced by the EU. For instance, companies are still prohibited from using specific dairy terms to refer to their products, including ‘milk’, ‘whey’, ‘butter’, ‘buttermilk’, ‘cheese’ and ‘yoghurt’.

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