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Plant-Based, Shrimp 'natural' and Breaded

The Spanish sector takes distance itself from 'plant-based' products

Click on the flag for more information about Spain SPAIN
Thursday, June 20, 2024, 01:00 (GMT + 9)

Spanish consumer associations join organizations in the seafood sector in their concern about the misleading labeling of plant-based processed products

The ConsumES Confederation, the Union of Consumers of Galicia, the Union of Consumers of Euskadi and the Union of Consumers of Cantabria adhere to the initiative considering that these types of products do not provide clear information, mislead the consumer and their marketing may lead to unfair competition.

They plan to join the SAFE Group Advocacy Europe to jointly launch a regulation proposal before the European authorities.

The seafood value chain calls for clearer labeling that does not imitate fish and shellfish, and progress in compliance with the regulations that regulate them.

The organizations celebrate the adhesion of consumers and regret, on the contrary, the lack of attention from the Ministry of Consumer.

The concern of organizations that make up the seafood value chain in relation to misleading labeling in plant-based products extends to consumer associations. From the sector, a consensus has been reached between the Unión Consumidores de Galicia (UCGAL), the Union of Consumers of Euskadi, the Union of Consumers of Cantabria and the ConsumES Confederation to join the project that integrates twenty organizations from the sector "from the perspective that we consider that these products do not comply with the obligation to convey clear information to the consumer and are likely to confuse them about the food itself, its ingredients and properties.”

This was stated by the vice president of ConsumES, Miguel López Crespo, who assured that from the confederation "we are also concerned about the damage that this type of products can cause to our seafood and aquaculture products, but the consensus - for the accession of the confederation to the offensive proposed by the organizations - has been obtained based on poor consumer information and the need for regulation of the labeling of vegan and vegetarian foods."

ConsumES has also sent the proposal to SAFE Food Advocacy Europe, the European consumer association, to carry out a consultation at a higher level to find out the opinion of the rest of the European countries on this issue. that integrate it. In this way, in the event of a possible majority position in favor, the approach would be to extend, from the consumer's perspective, a regulation proposal to the European authorities.

In this sense, it is worth remembering that the organizations that lead the initiative* had already addressed the Minister of Social Rights, Consumption and Agenda 2030, Pablo Bustinduy, and of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, to show their concern about the misleading labeling on plant-based products that aim to imitate fish and seafood, to advance in compliance with the regulations that regulate them without, for the moment, having received a response from the former.

The decision is based on poor consumer information and the need for regulation of the labeling of vegan and vegetarian foods.

Furthermore, the sector seeks to convey its consensual position protected by the current regulatory framework, which consists of the defense of truthful, complete and rigorous food information for the consumer, as well as fair commercial practices between economic sectors.

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Consumer information

Let us remember that community regulations establish that the consumer has the right to receive truthful and rigorous information about food on labeling. In this sense, the sector considers that the use of certain fantasy names (fictitious example, oceanic flavors) or confusing allusions through pictograms that refer to the sea when ingredients of this origin are not included, can lead to confusion in the consumer, when making your purchasing choices. 

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In fact, the independent report “Power of Plant Based Alternative Foods and Beverages 2023” prepared by the consulting firm Nielsen, the only one at an international level that analyzes consumer behavior towards these products, indicates that more than half of the consumers surveyed recognize that has difficulty differentiating plant-based processed products from animal protein on the supermarket shelf.

*The organizations that make up the initiative are: Apromar, Armadores Punta del Moral, ARVI, Cepesca, ConsumES, Conxemar, Fecopesca, Fedepesca, Regional Federation of Fishermen's Guilds of the Canary Islands, National Federation of Fishermen's Guilds, Interfish, Lonja de Tarifa, Opagac, Opescantábrico, OPP 72, OPP7 Burela, OPP78, Orpagu, Puerto de Celeiro, Union of Consumers of Cantabria, Union of Consumers of Galicia and Union of Consumers of Euskadi.

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