The UK dairy industry has announced it will be taking up action with a local vegan cheese shop, La Fauxmagerie, that recently opened in south London.
The shop, which launched on 8 February in Brixton, is run by sisters Rachel and Charlotte Stevens and sells a range of artisan cheeses, crackers and chutneys, all made from plant-based ingredients.
Despite being open for less than a week, it has already irked the UK dairy lobby which says it now plans to remind the shop of EU law – which states products labelled ‘milk’, ‘cheese’ and ‘butter’ have to be derived from animals.
The shop claims to be the first of its kind in the UK to be 100% vegan and relies on products like cashews and coconut oil to make the ‘cheese’ it sells.
Co-founder Charlotte Stevens, who suffers with lactose intolerance, says that she and her sister were driven to launch the business because vegan cheese historically has a bad reputation.
But Dairy UK claims that by doing so, the sisters are deliberately “misleading” customers and will be getting in touch with them to “make them aware” of the current EU rulings and suggest they stop calling their products “cheese”.
A spokesperson told The Telegraph: “It concerns us that consumers are being misled with the use of dairy terms like ‘cheese’ by the plant-based sector.
“Dairy UK has a duty to ensure the nutritional and health benefits of real dairy are recognised by and communicated to consumers.”
Despite its concern that customers risk being misled, a survey from 2018 showed that consumers largely understand that vegan cheese has no milk.
Research by the International Food Information Council (IFFC), found fewer than 10% of US consumers thought plant-based milks contained dairy.
Vegan cheese has become more and more popular in recent years with big supermarkets like Sainsbury’s and Waitrose beginning to stock vast ranges of vegan and lactose-free cheeses. HuffPost UK recently put a range of brands to the test – watch our verdict here.
HuffPost UK contacted La Fauxmagerie for comment and will update with any response.