Tofurky Case Stoking Alt-Meat Labeling Debate


By Marcy Kreiter, The Food Institute

April 2, 2021


A federal appellate court has ruled a state law that prohibits companies from marketing alternative protein products as meat does not violate free speech rights, but it begs the question of whether consumers really would be confused by such labeling.


The decision was issued earlier this week by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a suit filed by Turtle Island Foods SPC – the maker of Tofurky – against a 2018 Missouri law making it a crime to misrepresent as meat any product not coming from livestock or poultry. Turtle Island claimed that infringed on commercial free speech.


The court ruled the company had failed to provide sufficient evidence to indicate it would prevail in overturning the labeling law.


At least 25 states have real meat laws, Food Navigator reported (July 29, 2019). The concern is not so much plant-based products but lab-grown meats, a technology that’s still years from becoming economically feasible.




Meat, of course, is big business. The statistics site Statista valued the global meat sector at $945.6 billion in 2018 and projected that to increase to $1.14 trillion by 2023. By contrast, MarketsandMarkets valued the alt-meat industry at $4.3 billion in 2020, projecting that to increase by $8.3 billion by 2025, largely due to the growing popularity of vegan diets...






more, including links