Having voted 7 months earlier in favour of banning descriptive terms as ‘buttery’ and ‘creamy’ for purely plant-based products, the European Parliament withdrew draft legislation (the famous Amendment 171).
Implications of Amendment 171 were that the following would be prohibited:
- Familiar packaging formats like a carton for plant-based milk alternatives, or a block of plant margarine;
- Visual depictions of plant-based foods if they could be judged as “evoking” or “imitating” dairy – for example, an image of a milky swirl on a package of oat drink;
- Science-based green claims that compare plant-based foods to dairy foods, like “half the carbon emissions of dairy butter,” across all communications including digital and social media;
- Allergen information like “does not contain milk;”
- Descriptive terms like “creamy,” “buttery”, “use like cooking cream” or “vegan alternative to yoghurt;”
The major advocates for Amendment 171 belonged to the European diary industry. What exactly drove the Parliament to drop the draft legislation remains unclear, aside the growing resistance from plant-based makers and consumers. More than 450,000 consumers signed the public petition against the Amendment. Opponents also included WWF, Greenpeace, the European Consumer Organisation and Greta Thunberg.