A new state law in Mississippi bans companies from using “meat” terms on packages
for plant- and cell-based products. This means that even if the product is clearly labeled “vegan meat,”
using the word “meat”
is illegal in the state.
Andy Gipson, Mississippi agriculture and commerce commissioner, claims the law is meant to protect consumers from being confused by “misleading packaging.” But it may be an attempt by the meat industry to stifle competition from the rapidly growing plant-based food sector. In the lawsuit, Upton’s Naturals states that its products are clearly labeled “vegan,” “meatless,” and “plant-based,” and that terms like “burgers” and “sausages” help “increase consumer understanding of the foods’ characteristics.” The lawsuit argues, “No reasonable consumer would be misled by these uses of these terms.”
Like the meat industry, the dairy industry—including lobbying groups like the National Milk Producers Federation—is looking for technicalities to slow the spread of vegan milk and cheese products. In an effort to protect the dairy industry, U.S. senators Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Jim Risch of Idaho are pushing for the DAIRY PRIDE Act
, which would “require that non-dairy products made from nuts, seeds, plants, and algae no longer be confusingly labeled with dairy terms like milk, yogurt, and cheese.”
Some companies have embraced change. After Dean Foods suffered a 91 percent drop in net profits, the dairy brand invested
for a minority stake in flax-based vegan brand Good Karma Foods
. And just recently, Enkco Holding, creator of Tesco’s groundbreaking vegan steak
, announced selling its meat product business to reposition itself as Vivera Food Group, a totally vegan company.