All food products must be accurately and honestly described
SAMW has written to Mark Spencer, Minister of State for Food, Farming and Fisheries; Mairi Gougeon, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands; Geoff Ogle, FSS Chief Executive; and Emily Miles, FSA Chief Executive, to protest strongly that the labelling of certain plant-based products is likely to mislead consumers and harm the Association’s meat processor members who label their meat-based products honestly and straightforwardly.
The full text of the letter is as follows:
As President of the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers (SAMW), I would like to draw your attention to the food products shown on this website https://this.co/products/
These products are marketed by THIS and are sold widely in supermarkets across the UK. They are vegetable-based meat substitute products which are labelled variously “THIS isn’t Lamb”, ” THIS isn’t Bacon” etc. Beneath the most prominent label is a smaller description stating that they are 100% plant based. Despite the “This isn’t” label titles, the products are made to closely resemble meat products, e.g., lamb kebabs, bacon rashers etc.
We believe these products are intended to mislead customers into thinking they are actual meat products. In each case the font size of the meat word, “Lamb”, “Bacon” etc, is larger than the word “isn’t” or the words indicating that it is a plant-based product. The ordinary consumer will read the meat word, see the product which resembles the meat equivalent and quickly conclude that this is a genuine meat product, potentially dishonestly stealing purchases from the genuine meat-based product.
As there is no meat in the products, we fail to see how they can legitimately have the meat name in the product title. Our understanding is that a product title should describe what it IS, rather than what it isn’t, otherwise some very odd situations could arise, not to mention misleading ones such as these.
To be clear, we have no problem with vegetable-based products which are labelled clearly with an accurate description of what they are. However, we protest strongly that the labelling of these products is likely to mislead consumers and harm our meat processor members who label their meat-based products honestly and straightforwardly. I would ask you respectfully to consider these points and to take appropriate action to ensure that all food products are being accurately and honestly described.