Why 'soya milk' could be no longer a thing - EU court makes unprecedented ruling on plant-based products
Purely plant-based products cannot, in principle, be marketed with designations such as ‘milk’, ‘cream’, ‘butter’, ‘cheese’ or ‘yoghurt’, which are reserved by EU law for animal products, according to a European Court of Justice judgement.
The same is true if those designations are accompanied by clarifying or descriptive terms indicating the plant origin of the product concerned such as 'Soya milk' or 'rice spray cream'.
It comes following an EU case involving a German company which produces and distributes vegetarian and vegan foods.
In particular, it promotes and distributes purely plant-based products under the designations ‘Soyatoo Tofu butter’, ‘Plant cheese’, ‘Veggie Cheese’, ‘Cream’ and other similar designations.
A German association combating unfair competition however, took the view that promoting those products infringes the EU legislation on designations for milk and milk products. Consequently, it brought an action against the company.
The German Company, TofuTown considered that its advertising does not infringe the relevant legislation.
It argues that the way in which consumers understand those designations has changed considerably in recent years.