“Plant-meat-gate” finally reached a conclusion in the Supreme Administrative Court of Finland: the use of the name “burger patty” was allowed in plant-based products, but the use of the term “plant-based meat” was prohibited
Espoo, Finland, February x, 2023 – The Supreme Administrative Court (KHO) (Helsinki, Finland) announced its decision on Monday February 13th. According to the decision the name “burger patty” may be used in the marketing of plant-based patties, whilst KHO banned the use of the term “plant-based meat”.
In November 2019, the director of Central Ostrobothnia Environmental Health Control ordered Pouttu Ltd. to change the marketing of its products “MUU Burger Patty” and “MUU Plant-based ball” and banned the use of the terms “burger patty” and “plant-based meat” as misleading marketing. After the previous legal proceedings, MeEat Food Tech Ltd., which manufactures MUU products, separated from Pouttu Ltd. as an independent company. The decision of the Supreme Court is significant for MeEat and, although the decision was not entirely positive, it provides an opportunity to continue marketing burger patties. MeEat may potentially claim compensation from the government for changes in burger patty packaging.
MeEat CEO Mikko Karell comments: “Although the term ‘plant based-meat’ still cannot be used in marketing, we strongly believe that consumers will continue to use the term and that it will become established as a normal expression in the Finnish language. More and more consumers already have plant-based food days and switching to a plant-based protein product is easier and tastier than ever. We are very happy that we can now sell plant-based patties. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what the meat is made of, but that the food tastes good.”
The KHO decision states that the demand and supply of completely plant-based meat-imitating products has increased in recent years on the food market, but there are currently no official names for such products in the union or national legislation, as there are for dairy products, for example. Although a consumer who regularly uses completely plant-based food is likely to be aware of the content and quality of such food, the term “plant based-meat” cannot yet be considered established or conventional in the Finnish language, so that the average consumer would understand the product to be a plant-based, meat-imitating food without explanation.
The case has also been followed outside of Finland by organizations, such as the European Vegetarian Union and the Good Food Institute, as there are ongoing investigations into the use of the term “plant-based meat” elsewhere in Europe as well.
About MeEat Food Tech Ltd
MeEat develops delicious and sustainable plant-based products that can easily replace meat in everyday and familiar recipes. MeEat products use, for example, fermented broad beans, pea protein and wheat as raw materials. MeEat is Finland’s market leader in the plant protein category and has more than 50 plant-based products in its selection, from sausages to sauces.