Clear and consistent labeling for vegetarian and vegan food in the EU is underway. The European Commission says it has approved the move to develop labeling guidelines and will begin designing the labeling rules in 2019.
The decision received praise from the European Vegetarian Union (EVU), which said the label requirements will “improve the positions of all parties involved in the food chain.”
EVU has played a crucial role in pushing for label guidelines, working with the trade group FoodDrinkEurope, which represents the region’s leading manufacturers, and recognizes the growing demand in the vegetarian sector:
“Taking into account the rising interest in and demand for vegan and vegetarian foods and the correspondingly increasing relevance of this market segment, a definition is essential in order to guarantee the freedom of choice of the consumers as well as the proper functioning of the single market for foodstuffs. We are working together with the EVU and stand ready to further support this process,” an FDE spokesperson told FoodNavigator.
Much like the USDA’s certified organic label or ECOCERT in the EU provide consumers with distinct labels for identifying organic foods, the standardized vegetarian labeling would give consumers a reliable label in their quest for vegan and vegetarian foods. It will offer consumers more confidence in their purchases and remove a number of questions over complicated ingredients lists where certain animal ingredients are often unidentifiable to the average shopper.