On 14 June 2017 the European Court of Justice ruled that plant-based products cannot be marketed with diary names such as cheese, butter, cream or jogurt, because these denominations are only protected for animal products pursuant to Regulation 1308/2008.
The Court concluded that designations such as Tofu Butter’, ‘Plant Cheese’, ‘Veggie Cheese", etc. cannot be legally used to designate a purely plant-based product unless that product is mentioned on the list of exceptions, which is not the case for soya and tofu (Judgment in Case C-422/16).
A German food producer promoted and distributed purley plant-bases products under the designations "Soyatoo Tofu butter", "Plant cheese", "Veggie Cheese", "Cream" and other similar designations. The Verband Sozialer Wettbewerb, whose responsibilities include combatting unfair competition, had brought an action for a prohibitory injunction before the Regional Court of Trier in Germany. The Regional Court then had asked the European Court of Justice to interpret the relevant EU legislation.