Steaks, sausages, bacon… France puts an end to vegetarian “meat” in supermarkets

Lentil steaks, bean sausages, soy nuggets… Starting in the fall, all these meat-free references will have to change their names. We explain why.

Plant-based sausages, plant-based steaks… but also bacon or even vegan bacon… these are names that you will soon no longer find in supermarket shelves. We reassure you right away, this does not mean that foodstuffs based on vegetable proteins will no longer be marketed. They just change small names and therefore labeling “in order to strengthen consumer protection against the use of inappropriate terms on foodstuffs” as demanded for more than two years by producers in the animal sector. Their request took concrete form in the signing of a decree published in the Official Journal on 30 June and comes into force on October 1, 2022.

A request from the meat industry

This decision puts an end to the battle that has been brewing for quite some time between meat producers and those who prefer to replace it with vegetable proteins. For the first, the mention of “vegetable meat” is an aberration insofar as the meat is necessarily based on animal proteins. This is why, according to them, words like steak, bacon, but also tenderloin, sausage and foie gras are part of the “meat vocabulary”. The same goes for the mention “vegetable cheese” which will now be prohibited by the decree… because, as everyone knows, cheese is also animal milk!

All these names will therefore disappear from the packaging from October 1 and manufacturers will be permitted to sell their products manufactured or labeled before that date until December 31, 2023.

A French decree but not European

It remains that this decree is French and concerns products manufactured and marketed in France. For those imported from the European Union and Turkey, the decree does not apply. Good to know: if the foodstuffs consist of both animal and vegetable protein, they can continue to present themselves as meat to consumers, provided they do not contain more than 7% vegetable protein for a steak, 3% for sausages or 0.5% for lardons and bacon. On your labels then, if you are vegetarian !

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