A lawsuit brought by Vienna City Council against alt seafood startup Revo Foods for labelling its plant-based salmon as “salmon” has been dismissed by an Austrian court. The lawsuit claimed that the product’s name, “Revo™ Salmon – 100% Plant-Based with Pea Protein”, could mislead consumers into thinking it contained the flesh of real salmons. 

Robin Simsa, CEO of Revo Foods, said to Vegonomist,  “Our packaging declares that only 100% plant-based ingredients are used and clearly labels the products as vegan without animal-based ingredients. In our view, any accusation of deception is unjustified. Many consumers are specifically looking for these types of products, and it is important to give guidance of the product taste with descriptive names.”

Revo Foods uses 3D extrusion technology to produce highly realistic alternatives to the flesh of fishes. In collaboration with Sweden’s Mycorena, the company has produced a mycoprotein-based fillet imitating the flesh of salmons.

There have been similar cases in plant-based products such as fake meat and milk alternatives that had faced similar legal challenges in Europe, but this is believed to be the first case of its kind to be brought against a seafood imitation product. France, Poland, and Italy have been particularly successful in giving unfair advantages to the animal agriculture industries in this type of label wars, but Belgium has recently dropped plans to restrict the labeling of plant-based foods, and previous attempts to introduce restrictions at an EU level also failed. 

The startup is now calling for EU-wide regulations to allow plant-based products to compete in a fair market. Robin Simsa added, “It seems that these naming regulations primarily affect plant-based products (such as oat drinks). In our view, however, a clear one-sidedness or distortion of competition is recognizable here. Meat and fish farms are heavily subsidized by the public sector, for example through lower tax rates or by agricultural subsidies. However, meat is by far the biggest climate driver in food production. Is this approach in line with the European Green Deal, with which Europe wants to promote more environmental protection? We don’t think so.”

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.