Arkansas pland to ban grocery stores from calling veggie burgers “veggie burgers” and from calling soy milk “soy milk.” This state isn’t the first to do this, Mississippi and Missouri are also banning alternative meat companies from labeling their products “veggie burgers,” “tofu sausage,” “vegan bacon,” and so on.
Why? Supporters of the laws claim the products labeled “veggie burger” might be confused by the word “burger” and not know that the product was plant-based. Plant-based products are booming this year — so, such laws being put in place leaves many very confused.
Jaime Athos, CEO of Tofurky, who are suing Arkansas over the new law, told VOX, “We’ve never gotten a complaint like that.” The legislator who introduced the bill, David Hillman, said that his aim was to “protect the agricultural producers in this state”.
The Arkansas law will prohibit plant-based products from “utilizing a term that is the same as or similar to a term that has been used or defined historically in reference to a specific agricultural product.”
The ACLU, who is suing Arkansas for the Tofurky company, says, “The Act is a restriction on commercial speech that prevents companies from sharing truthful and non-misleading information about their products. It does nothing to protect the public from potentially misleading information. Instead, it creates consumer confusion where none existed before in order to impede competition.”
“Tofurky Co.’s packaging and marketing materials clearly indicate that their products are plant based and accurately convey the products’ ingredients,” the ACLU wrote in the lawsuit. “Consumers are not likely to be confused by the appropriate use of the word ‘meat’ or related terms on vegetarian or vegan products. A consumer who is looking for food that has the flavor, texture, and appearance of bacon but was not derived from a live pig would find the label ‘veggie bacon’ more useful than a label that says only ‘plant-based protein.’”