A French pork lobby has accused vegan bacon producer La Vie of unfair competition.
According to INAPORC, the company’s plant-based lardons are too similar to conventional pork alternatives, effectively mimicking the originals.
La Vie has responded to INAPORC with a love letter via social media and the printed press. It jokingly thanked the pork lobby for the “most flattering compliment.”
What’s the big deal about plant-based pork?
The French government recently revealed its concern about plant-based meat products, claiming that they are described in “meaty” terms and undermine the domestic meat industry
As a result, it tried to impose a labelling ban. It would forbid French manufacturers from using terms like “sausage,” “steak,” and, most importantly, “bacon” on plant-based product packaging. The ban would have gone into effect on October 1 if it had been accepted without challenge.
However, the French high court, the Conseil d’Etat, halted the ban earlier this week to assess its legality and proposed timetable.
The move has given companies like La Vie, which has been vocal about its opposition to the ban, a potential reprieve.
La Vie confronts the pork lobby
La Vie, known for its whimsical packaging and largely irreverent marketing approach, was unusually serious in its response to the proposed labelling ban.
“This law goes completely against two official priorities of the French government: combating global warming and reindustrializing France,” Nicholas Schweitzer, CEO of La Vie, told Plant Based News at the time.
However, after being accused of creating a plant-based product that was too similar to its meat counterpart, the company changed its tune.
In addition to thanking INAPORC, which Schweitzer refers to as a “proper bacon professional” (via LinkedIn), La Vie went national with its gratitude.
The bacon innovator addresses consumers directly in a full-page advertisement in Le Parisien. “The pork lobby is attacking us because our veggie lardons look exactly like pork lardons.”
“Help us defend ourselves by sending them this letter,” it continues.
A letter to INAPORC is written below a dotted line and begins, “Dear Pork Lobby. Thank you for your kind words. Your pork lardons are indistinguishable from our veggie lardons, in our opinion. Would you mind if I modified your recipe? Thanks.”
Schweitzer claims that the saga is far from over and invites viewers to tune in for the next instalments.