Dairy-related terms now allowed for dairy-free products

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The European Parliament has decided not to pass Amendment 171. This means that, in Europe, dairy-free products can now use dairy-related terms such as buttery and creamy.

In October 2020, the European Commission voted to ban dairy-related terms, such as buttery and creamy for plant-based foods. But, less than 7 months later, the European Parliament decided not to pass Amendment 171.

Amendment 171 would have banned:

  • Descriptive terms such as creamy, buttery, use like cooking cream or vegan alternative to yoghurt;
  • Allergen information such as does not contain milk; and
  • Science-based claims that compare plant-based foods to dairy foods. An example of this is: half the carbon emissions of dairy butter.  

Amendment 171 criticised

Amendment 171 got a lot of criticism from plant-based food producers, environmental groups and consumers. The amendment would prevent manufacturers from informing consumers about the benefits of plant-based products. This was one of the major issues.

European consumers are buying more plant-based foods. This is a trend we expect to continue. The increase in demand is due to:

  • Ethical reasons;
  • Environmental concerns; and
  • The perceived health benefits of plant-based foods.  

Opportunities for suppliers from developing countries

The decision not to pass Amendment 171 and the growing demand for plant-based foods create an opportunity for suppliers of natural food additives. This is especially true for seaweed extracts carrageenan and agar-agar, as well as natural gums. Companies use these ingredients in plant-based products. They have functional and active properties, as well as health benefits. Combined with other additives, these ingredients can add a creamy and buttery flavour and texture.

To benefit from this opportunity, find out about the benefits of your natural food additive. Also, look at its uses in plant-based alternatives. Inform buyers about these, as they will make your product more appealing.

For more information on seaweed extracts, read our research on exporting seaweed extract to Europe.

Ecovia Intelligence wrote this news article for CBI.

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