French butchers have been accused of trying to ban vegan bacon because it tastes too realistic.
The row erupted as France prepares to ban the sale of plant-based foods using terms such as “sausage”, “steak” or “bacon” which traditionally apply to meat products.
INAPORC, association of the pork sector, has given formal notice to the company La Vie for “unfair competition” for its vegan bacon.
He said they risked ‘misleading consumers’ into thinking they were buying meat lardons and said their advertising campaign, which urged customers to ‘try pork without pork’, ‘brought disrepute on their industry.
La Vie ran a back-page ad in French newspaper Le Parisien to hit back at meat lobbyists.
It read, “Dear Pork Lobby. Thank you for the compliment. We think your pork lardons are indistinguishable from our vegetarian lardons. Would you mind changing your recipe?”
This is printed on a mock postcard, with the address printed on the right and room for a stamp, and an invitation for fake meat lovers to send it to INAPORC.
“The pork lobby is attacking us because our vegetarian bacon bits are indistinguishable from pork bacon,” the ad read, “Help us defend ourselves, by sending them this letter.”
France would be the first to ban the words “fleshy”
The plant-based food labeling ban aims to prevent shoppers from confusing vegetarian and meat meals.
Critics argue it is unnecessary and will harm a new industry that is good for the environment as it reduces meat consumption.
The French Council of State has declared: “It will no longer be possible to use terms specific to the sectors traditionally associated with meat and fish to designate products which do not belong to the animal world.”
The ban was delayed on July 27 to give the industry time to make appropriate branding and marketing changes.
It is due to come into force in October, but it is believed that there will be efforts to water down or change the law by then.
“This law goes completely against two official priorities of the French government: the fight against global warming and the reindustrialization of France,” Nicholas Schweitzer, CEO of La Vie, told Plant Based News.
If the ban continues, France, a traditionally carnivorous country, will be the first to ban vegan brands using “meaty” words.
Last year, Michelin awarded its very first French star to a vegan restaurant, a sign of a changing culinary culture in the land of “steak frites”. French schools must offer a daily vegetarian option in their canteens after new rules were introduced last year.