vegetable meat wants to bloom in the shelves

More and more items are appearing on supermarket shelves to offer alternatives to those who want to reduce, or even eliminate, their meat consumption. But many evoke, by shape, color or name, animal flesh.

Hence a legal-lexical battle that reached the Council of State. Do we have the right to use terms such as steak, bacon, but also sausage, merguez sausage or escalope to designate products based on vegetable proteins and in which no meat is included?

No, answered in June a decree prohibiting the use of a “Terminology specific to sectors traditionally associated with meat and fish to designate products that do not belong to the animal kingdom”. The satisfaction of the butchery sectors was only short-lived, the Council of State suspending this text a few weeks later.

The highest French administrative court did not decide on the merits, but above all highlighted the fact that the vegetable meat players would not have enough time to reorganize their activities before the application of the law which was scheduled for October 2022.

Start-ups and food giants

These actors are multiplying. There are start-ups such as HappyVore, La Vie or Accro, which has received support from the Mulliez family investment fund. But historical actors of animal flesh are no less fond of the adventure of imitation meat, such as Herta or Fleury-Michon. “It is these agrifood giants who have above all contributed to making this offer visible to the general public”, notes Lydia Rabine, consumer goods specialist at Kantar.

Still, after years of growth, sales of these meat substitutes seem to be slipping. “In 2021, 16% of French households bought this type of product, recalls Lydia Rabine. But the average remains at five purchases per year. » The specialist evokes the brakes expressed by the refractory, in particular disappointments on the taste or concerns on the ultra-transformed side of certain recipes, especially following critical press articles on this question last year. “And then there is still a strong culture of meat in France”, adds Lydia Rabine.

Still, no one wants to miss the boat of a possible dietary evolution. According to Kantar Panel, 46% of French households included at least one “flexitarian” person in June, anxious to reduce their meat consumption.


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