(4 min read)
On Tuesday (9th May 2023), Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted against the inclusion of plant-based drinks in schools in their own initiative report on the EU School Scheme (which benefits around 20 million children across Europe).
This not only represents a blow to children who cannot consume milk for health or ethical reasons, but presents a significant loss of opportunities for plant-forward businesses.
“We are very disappointed by the outcome of this vote, but we are hopeful that the European Commission will still move ahead and include plant-based drinks in the scheme as part of their review, which is out at the end of the year.”
EU Policy Manager at ProVeg International
Essentially, by voting against the inclusion of plant-based drinks in the report, the European Parliament has potentially limited opportunities for businesses to touch base with young consumers (possibly affecting future plant-based diet choices).
Additionally, the non-binding opinion, sent to the European Commission, could reduce the likelihood of plant-based companies securing profitable business partnerships with educational institutions (though there is still hope, since the Commission still has a chance to decline the proposal) .
“Many children in the EU cannot, or do not want to drink cow’s milk for medical, ethical, taste, or environmental reasons. The growing plant milk market includes increasingly younger consumers, and there is much better availability of these products now in retail and food service settings but schools are being overlooked. Offering plant-based milk alternatives such as soya and pea in schools would have expanded business opportunities.”
Jasmijn de Boo
CEO at ProVeg International
To support the future of your plant-based business and maximise profits, it is vitally important that you engage in plant-based policy.
Businesses must do their part – not just NGOs, like ProVeg – to make plant-based alternatives more accessible to consumers.
The European Commission will now work on publishing a new proposal to implement the EU-funded Scheme.
ProVeg calls on the European Commission to bring about change, and introduce unsweetened fortified plant-based alternatives to milk to the scheme.
To take advantage of all the opportunities that the plant-based industry has to offer and maximise your business’s profits, ProVeg International recommends getting involved in plant-based policy, like the School Scheme.
Engaging with plant-based policy can help to prevent unfavourable business decisions, like the veto of plant-based drinks in the School Scheme report, but it can also enable you to help consumers access the products they want and need, as well as supporting the future of the plant-based industry and your business’s success as a whole.
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