EU food legislation impacts innovation in the area of plant-based dairy alternatives

Annisa Leialohilani*, Alie de Boer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Dairy alternatives are foods that are made from plant-based milk instead of their usual animal products, such as cheese and yoghurt. Over the past few years, consumers increasingly choose to go dairy-free, which leads to a growth in available dairy alternatives product on the market. Although it is easiest for consumers to identify these products by the use of protected dairy terms (‘yoghurt’ or ‘milk’), these protected terms may not be used by food business operators to designate their plant-based products.

Scope and approach
This article will examine the positive and negative impact of the EU regulatory framework on innovation in the dairy alternative industry and its consumers. Furthermore, potential solutions to overcome the identified barriers are explored.

Key findings and conclusions
The EU regulatory framework has positively affected innovation in the dairy alternatives industry by establishing legal clarity, and ensuring a high level of food safety and consumer protection. However, the same legislation negatively impacts innovation in the industry, namely due to: (i) the varying interpretation of the Regulation (EU) 1308/2013 (CMO); (ii) the different level of consumer protection between sectors; (iii) the absence of a legal definition of vegan food; and (iv) the narrow definition of ‘milk’ and ‘milk products’ as defined in the CMO. Either amending the definition of milk and milk products in the CMO, or expanding the list of exceptions to the definitions are identified as possible solutions to deal with the identified barriers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-267
Number of pages6
JournalTrends in Food Science & Technology
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • European food law
  • Food innovation
  • Consumer protection
  • Dairy products
  • Plant-based
  • Dairy substitutes
  • Nondairy
  • MILK

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