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What Does “Veggie” Mean on Food Labels?

It seems like almost every new product today is called “plant-based” this and “veggie” that. But what exactly does “veggie” on a label mean to shoppers? Like “all natural,” “veggie” is not a defined term in federal law.

But, according to the dictionary, a “veggie burger” is “a patty chiefly of vegetable-derived protein used as a meat substitute.”

Kellogg’s has been marketing a whole bunch of “veggie” products under the MorningStar Farms label for quite a while. This includes burgers, sausage patties, hot dogs, etc.

MorningStar hot dogs

A look at the ingredients statement, however, reveals little in the way of vegetables or vegetable protein.

*MOUSE PRINT:

MorningStar ingredients

So a California consumer just filed a lawsuit against Kellogg’s for misrepresentation. To be fair to Kellogg’s, most of their other MorningStar products contain greater amounts of soy (a vegetable), though not a majority of the product, such as in their Veggie Griller burgers:

*MOUSE PRINT:

MorningStar burgers ingredients

But is soy flour the main vegetable protein ingredient we expect to be in a veggie burger or other meat substitute? What does seeing “veggie” on a product label mean to you? Add your thoughts in the comments section.

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6 thoughts on “What Does “Veggie” Mean on Food Labels?”

  1. People should just start to expect things like this. Of course companies are going to go with the most baseline definition of what they can get away with. I mean technically it is made of veggies. I think the consumer is, rightfully, upset that they got duped into buying a hotdog that is mostly water.

    Reply
  2. Soy and wheat are both vegetables, or both not vegetables, depending on your definition. Since there’s no legal definition, it’s up to the eye of the beholder.

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  3. In addition, I find it odd that a product like a processed Salisbury Steak (or breakfast sausage, meatball etc) will claim to be a “Beef, chicken and pork fritter” but they casually leave out the textured soy protein, which is right up near the top of the ingredient list. Shouldn’t it be mentioned? Guarantee there are people who would buy a different brand if they saw that on the Brown N’ Serve sausages, which are partially soy protein based.

    It’s especially annoying in a meatball. Since it’s called a meatball. Not an isolated soy protein ball.

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  4. Veggie shouldn’t be used when describing hot dogs, hamburgers or any food, except salted veggie snack sticks, which are very good.

    Reply