AUSTRALIAN red meat industry leader John McKillop has made a call to arms over the ‘dishonest’ branding of plant-based proteins with descriptive ‘meat’ labelling.
To increase industry awareness of the increasing trend of market branding of plant-based proteins using phrases like ‘meat made with plants’, ’chicken-free chicken’ and ‘plant-based bacon’ increases, the chairman of the Red Meat Advisory Council John McKillop has drawn attention to companies “trying to piggyback off the reputation of Aussie red meat.”
Mr McKillop said addressing the unfair regulatory environment around the issue is one of the top priorities for the Red Meat Advisory Council in partnership with its members, Sheep Producers Australia and the Australian Meat Industry Council.
It’s time to level the playing field on plant-based proteins
“It’s time to level the playing field for red meat category branding. Across the butcher shops, supermarket aisles and restaurant tables throughout the nation, there’s no better-branded product than Australian red meat. Whether it’s nutrition, food safety, or product quality, Australian consumers know they’re getting the real deal every time they buy red meat.
Our industry’s collective category brand is unlike any other. As an industry, we’ve constructed our brand over generations of socialised levies and private investment. More than 77,000 Australian red meat and livestock businesses and 434,000 workers spend every day building our industry’s brand.
We pay mandatory levies at every point along the supply chain which are spent on marketing, research and product integrity measures. In addition to socialised levies, private companies annually invest millions of dollars into branding our industry’s products.
Investment in Australia’s red meat category branding isn’t only made through marketing but through the heavy mandatory compliance costs our industry has to pay to sell products labelled as meat, lamb, beef, or goat.
It’s no wonder why there’s now a laundry list of manufactured plant-based protein products trying to piggyback off the reputation of Aussie red meat.
These products blatantly attempt to misappropriate our category branding for highly-manufactured plant-based proteins, which don’t support Australian livestock producers, processors or retailers.
Australia’s meat and livestock industry isn’t afraid of competition – we’ve held our own against the tofu warriors for decades.
What isn’t acceptable is dishonestly using our category branding for a product that doesn’t pay the levies, doesn’t pay the compliance costs and doesn’t have our centuries-old proud history.
Our industry deserves better. Denigrating a trademarked brand to sell another is not permitted and nor should the use of our industry’s collectively owned meat category brand.”
Red Meat Advisory Council Chair