Even as the European Union rejected amendments that called for a stop on labeling vegan products, specifically plant-based alternatives to meat and dairy items, Spain has declared a resounding no against banning plant-based product labels.
Instigated by the far-right political party Vox, the bill sought to overturn the EU’s rejection of Amendment 165 or The Veggie Burger Ban and Amendment 171 or The Dairy Ban.
According to Vox party deputy Magdalena Nevado, there is no way by which plant-based foods can be the nutritional equivalent of either meat or dairy products. Indeed, Nevado went on to say that the names would still evoke either meat and dairy. In her words, this causes consumer confusion.
However, the Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food under Spain’s Congress of Deputies voted against the bill during proceedings held last November 16th.As one member of the Committee put it bluntly: “Consumers aren’t stupid.”
The Committee’s decision was welcomed with open arms by a number of vegan-centric manufacturers and nutritional advocacies throughout Spain. One of them, Bernat Ananos Martinez, the founder of Spain’s leading vegan meats producer Heura Foods, agreed with the statement that consumers were not as naive as the members of Vox have made them out to be.
“[While I agree that consumers need to be informed,} they are not stupid,” he said in an interview. “[People are perfectly capable of differentiating] a plant-based meatball from an animal-derived one.”
Ananos also suggested that, if the political party was really sincere about empowering Spanish consumers, then it should work on an eco-score system that would cover all products – plant and animal-based – and show how much impact each one has on the environment.
For their part, the Spanish arm of food-awareness advocacy ProVeg International also indicated their support of the Committee’s decision. According to their communications manager Veronica Larco, it was made clear that no one can put limits on the plant-based sector now that it has been growing exponentially thanks to massive consumer demand.
She added that consumers perfectly understand exactly what they’re buying and have their own solid reasons for buying the said products.