Vegan Foods: Labelling Practice

Marielle Gerke, Meike Janssen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Recently, vegan food has gained importance in the German population. For a long time, there was neither a uniform definition nor governmental regulation on the use of the term ‘vegan’. It wasn't until April 2016 that the consumerism ministers of the German federal states agreed on a uniform definition of the term. This definition is supposed to function as a temporarily base for evaluation for the official food control, until the European Commission issues standardized regulations. In addition, little is known about the labelling practice of vegan foods. The aim of the present study was therefore to conduct an inventory of vegan food labels, to analyze the transparency of the standards behind the labels and to evaluate the current practice of vegan food labelling. Data was collected in 24 grocery stores for eleven product categories. The results of the study show there are two main types of vegan food labels: producer labels and third-party labels from independent organizations. From 108 products analyzed, 79% were labelled with a producer label and only 44% carried a third-party label. In total, 23% of the products were labelled with both types of labels. Whereas the certification and production standards of the third-party labels could easily be found and accessed on the internet, the standards behind most of the producer labels were not transparent. The study concludes that the current practice of labelling vegan food merely with producer labels is partly not consumer-friendly and should be improved to increase transparency.
Original languageEnglish
JournalErnährungs Umschau
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)51-57
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan foods
  • Food labelling
  • Label
  • Consumer protection
  • Food industry

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