Manufacturers of “fake meat” confronted with definitions of meat Senate Inquiry
The MANUFACTURERS of plant-based “fake meat” said in a Senate inquiry that they fully supported the need for clarity in labeling to avoid consumer confusion in the market.
But they have also defended the use of identifiers such as beef, pork and chicken on the labeling of their herbal products, saying these are necessary to ensure consumers understand their product.
An Australian manufacturer and exporter of plant-based meat substitutes told the investigation that his rapidly growing business will have to move overseas if it is not allowed to use specific meat terms such as chicken.
Without these terms, consumers would not understand what herbal products will cook, taste and eat, representatives of herbal manufacturers said yesterday during a public hearing of the Senate inquiry into rural affairs and regions on definitions of meat and other products.
“We don’t see a problem with that, we have chicken nuggets instead of white meat nuggets, because consumers understand that the product is going to taste like chicken nugget, not beef nugget. or a fish nugget. ” Tyler jameson (bottom right), the vice president of government relations with Impossible Foods said the investigation via a video link.
“We used pork instead of plant-based white meat or plant-based white meat because they know they’re going to get the same level of fat and chew as a ground pork as opposed to a ground turkey or a ground chicken. “
“… it makes more sense from the use of the product and the optics and understanding of consumers to call it beef with the proper qualifiers and language on the label, which says contains no animal products,” made from plants, etc., so consumers don’t buy it thinking it’s from a cow ”.
But yet, champagne can only be sourced from the Champagne region in France, and many cheese products can only use certain names if they are produced in a specific region.
Why, Senator Susan McDonald asked, do we have a lot of pressure on where certain products come from, and yet for herbal products we say it’s a little different?
Mr Jameson responded by saying that the issue of geographic indicators was an issue that many countries and states saw as “protectionist”.
Representatives from US manufacturers Impossible Foods and Beyond Meats and Australian companies v2food and Deliciou each said they had no interest in confusing consumers because their entire value proposition was based on their products being ‘they call meat are made from plants.
Beyond Meats Council Jessica o’connell said the company’s position is that using standardized and consistent food terms that consumers understand, along with qualifiers such as plant-based ones, is the best way to convey what they are buying to consumers .
“For example, when a consumer sees our Beyond Mince plant-based ground product, they know that this meat is plant-based because of that phrase ‘plant-based’,” she said.
“They know it’s meant to work like any other hash, whether it’s chicken, pork, or plant-based and so we think it’s really the most appropriate way to convey. this type of information.
“We are convinced that the naming conventions are true, that they are not misleading or misleading and that they are sufficient to convey the true nature of plant-based meat products. “
Stricter naming regulations would force a move offshore
Ketjil Hansen (below right), founder of Australian company Deliciou which manufactures a range of vegan seasonings and meat substitutes made from peas, soybeans and wheat and exports to the United States, Europe and the ‘Asia said his company would be forced out of Australia f he cannot use meat terms to label its plant-based products.
“If we are not allowed to use the word chicken with the qualifying herbal words, then it would be impossible for the consumer to know that our herbal product will taste and feel like chicken.”
“If Deliciou is not allowed to use names of meat and dairy products on our packaging, then it will be impossible for Deliciou to communicate the purpose of our products to consumers and there will be no market for us. Australia.
“I would go so far as to say that if the result of this investigation is that we no longer need to use meat and dairy terms, as well as plant-based qualifying terms, and that’s not it anymore. no longer makes sense for Delicou to produce our products in Australia and we will direct all of our production to overseas markets where meat terms are allowed to be used. “
Impossible Grilled Foods on a Mission to End Animal Production
Impossible Foods has also been toasted on its stated mission to end animal meat production by 2035, comments that have garnered the company considerable media coverage and publicity in a crowded and competitive plant market space.
Senator Susan mcdonald pointed out that in Australia, animal production is the largest agricultural industry, a major regional employer and one of the largest manufacturing industries in the country.
“Your program would effectively aim to end the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Australian families who work in the animal production supply chain. What would you say to that? “
Mr Jameson responded by saying he grew up on a farm.
“I understand why you are asking this question, my snow days at school were spent not sleeping, they were spent throwing hay for cows and horses.
“I understand that this is a personal cultural issue for farmers and our company does not go out of its way to necessarily disparage them.
“We just put a product on the market and let the consumers decide. “
Asked whether his statement was not in line with the company’s mission statement to end food production from animal products, Mr Jameson said he believed that the company was consistent.
“We’re not asking the Australian Senate for anything, we’re not asking for help from any of our legislatures in the United States, we’re just putting a product on the market and letting consumers decide.”
Each of the plant protein makers said they had not received any credible reports of consumer confusion from the labeling of their products and said the government should not make decisions based on “anecdotal” reports.
“Legislative intervention should not be based on anecdotes such as ‘I went to the supermarket myself and was confused'”, founder of v2Food Nick Hazell (right) says.
“Because these anecdotes are diametrically opposed to the evidence provided to this investigation by many organizations like the ACCC, FSANZ and also our experience where we have sold to millions of consumers not confused. “
The investigation learned that most of the ingredients used to produce the plant-based meat substitutes that are sold in Australia come from overseas.
Nick Hazell said when he launched v2food he assumed he would use Australian ingredients to make the plant-based burgers and hash he produces.
However, he said it was a shock to find that the protein extracts, concentrates and isolates, which are the building blocks of alternative proteins, are not made in Australia.
“We grow great pulses and pulses, we have an amazing agricultural sector, but no one has felt the need to invest in manufacturing in Australia until now.
“So this is deeply concerning and I want to do something about it.”
He said he believes Australia can quadruple the amount of high protein soybeans it produces from current levels as the plant protein industry grows.
“We are forming consortia and partnerships so that we can grow soybeans in Australia and process it in Australia, and that involves hundreds of millions of dollars of investment.”
“Re-import” of wheat grown in Australia
Ketjil Hansen of Deliciou said he faces the odd situation of having to re-import wheat grown in Australia right now.
“We end up with our line of plant-based meat, we have to import the key ingredient from abroad,” he said.
“We learned that the overseas supplier imports Australian wheat themselves, processes it overseas, and then we import it back to Australia.
“This is a huge lost opportunity to build a massive plant-based materials processing industry here in Australia.
“The opportunity now is to really invest in this, it will benefit so many Australian farmers. “
“The investigation is not an attack on vegetable proteins”
Plant protein companies have called the Senate investigation an attempt by the meat industry to stifle growth as a competitive threat to their industry.
However, Senator McDonald reiterated yesterday that the investigation is not an attack on other sources of protein and is simply about labeling and terminology to ensure clarity for consumers.
“The purpose of this survey is by no means to limit the growth of the vegetable protein market, I agree that in a hungry world we are looking for additional food sources.
“This is the correct terminology to use on this new food product.”
V2food’s marketing approach deserves praise
Senator McDonald also singled out v2food as a leading example of how to market vegetable protein products.
“V2food, I have no problem with your marketing, you use terms we all agree on – hamburger, hash, sausage, bolognese sauce.
“I mean none of that… you don’t use animal pictures on your marketing materials, you don’t use animal words in your marketing materials so I’m not sure why you feel so attacked. because the purpose of this survey is to talk about definitions, the words we use to describe products, it is in no way to discourage you from making plant proteins.