La Fauxmangerie, run by sisters Rachel and Charlotte Stevens, opened its doors in Brixton on Friday. All its products are “100 per cent animal and animal derivative free” and sold in “plastic-free packaging made from recycled and recyclable materials”.
Sounds harmless enough, but not everyone is excited by the prospect. The dairy industry is planning legal action against the business, claiming that calling the products “cheese” is misleading to consumers.
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A spokesperson for Dairy UK told The Telegraph that they had a “duty to ensure the nutritional and health benefits of real dairy are recognised by and communicated to consumers,” and that: “It concerns us that consumers are being misled with the use of dairy terms like cheese by the plant-based sector.”
La Fauxmangerie clearly states on its website and shop front that its products are all plant-based, but it does call itself a “cheesemonger”, and EU regulations state that – with a few exceptions – terms such as “milk”, “cheese” and “butter” can only be used to refer to products derived from dairy.
Dairy UK have said that they will be contacting La Fauxmangerie to make them aware of the regulations.
In 2017 the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled against German company TofuTown, which included products such as “veggie cheese” and “tofu butter”. The company claimed that its packaging was not misleading because it clearly stated they were plant-based, but the Court disagreed.
Of course, once the UK leaves the EU, it will no longer be governed by these regulations, although it could create new laws to replace them.
Last year, France passed legislation which would ban plant-based meat substitutes from being referred to as their animal product counterparts, such as “vegetarian sausages” or “vegan bacon”.
While the number of people embracing vegetarian and vegan lifestyles is at its peak, reactions to new products to cater to plant-based diets are increasingly disparaging, with public figures such as William Sitwell and Piers Morgan showing disdain for veganism in particular.
La Fauxmangerie could not be reached for comment, but according to the shop’s Instagram, it remains open for business.