GERMANY, Berlin. Study by German organisation vzbv: Farmers' association derives only restrained interest.
The appetite of German citizens for milk and meat substitutes is apparently more limited than is often portrayed. A survey published by the Lebensmittelklarheit project on labeling expectations for vegan and vegetarian substitute products illustrates the great skepticism of consumers toward substitute foods, the German Farmers' Association (DBV) has now stated. Only 20% of those surveyed said they eat them without restriction or a lot. According to the DBV, around 98% eat more or less animal products such as milk and cheese, and 83% each eat meat and fish, respectively.
"This survey confirms one thing above all: the vast majority of consumers prefer a mixed diet. German farmers provide the necessary plant and animal ingredients," explained DBV Deputy Secretary General Gerald Dohme. "With our demand for clear origin and husbandry labeling, we are helping to ensure that consumers can see where and how their food is produced. Food from Germany stands for the highest safety and quality standards," Dohme emphasized.
According to the Farmers' Association, more than 40% of those surveyed found meat-like product names such as "vegetarian meat salad" to be misleading or ambiguous. The DBV thus sees itself strengthened in its demand for truth and clarity in food labeling. "We reject meat-free foods being named like the meat or sausage original. We believe that the substitute food must be clearly distinguishable from the original not only in its presentation, but also in its name," Dohme emphasized. Just as there can be no "dairy-free milk ice cream" or "raspberry-free raspberry dessert," there should also be no "meat-free roast beef" or, to stay with the study, "vegan chicken nuggets."
In view of the vzbv study on the presentation and labeling of meat substitute products, the German Food Association sees above all the need to do more educational work and to establish a uniform and legally binding definition at EU level. As early as 2015, the food association, together with the German Vegetarian Association (now ProVeg), had agreed on a common understanding of vegetarian and vegan foods with regard to the ingredients used and corresponding definitions. An anchorage in the European right did not take place so far unfortunately , criticizes the federation. The common definitions formed however today already the evaluation for the food monitoring authorities of the Lands of the Federal Republic.
Not least because of the absence of specific regulations the German food book commission specified guiding principles for the marking and presentation of vegan and vegetarian spare products four years ago, explains Dr. Marcus Girnau, deputy managing director: "We pointed out however already at that time that the graduated marking concept is explanation-needy for consumers and places also the producing economy before some challenges. For example, the explicit requirement to name the substituting ingredient could also lead to misunderstandings. "The results of the vzbv survey confirm this."
In Girnau's opinion, false expectations on the part of buyers can only be prevented with education and information about how substitute products are generally composed and how it is possible for them to come close to the original in terms of sensory, visual and taste. "It must be clear to everyone that substitute products are purposefully developed and complex processed products, the composition of which can be found in the list of ingredients.
Source: afz - allgemeine fleischer zeitung 16/2022