La Fauxmagerie was opened in Brixton last week by sisters Charlotte and Rachel Stevens. Over the weekend, The Telegraphpublished an article citing Dairy UK, which said it would be taking action against the store for 'misleading' customers by branding its wares 'plant-based cheese'.
Under EU law, dairy-related names including 'milk', 'cheese', and 'butter' can only be used to refer to products derived from dairy - with a few exceptions.
"Dairy UK has a duty to ensure the nutritional and health benefits of real dairy are recognized by and communicated to consumers," a spokesperson for Dairy UK said. "It concerns us that consumers are being misled with the use of dairy terms like cheese by the plant-based sector.
"It is fundamental to protect the consumer from product descriptions which are misleading. In the first instance, we will be contacting La Fauxmagerie to make them aware of the current EU ruling on the protection of dairy terms.
"Like milk, cheese has a host of nutritional benefits and is a source of a number of important nutrients including calcium, protein, vitamin A, phosphorus and vitamin B12."
'Room for all'
Now the sisters have opened up about the Dairy UK comments. "We were a little taken back by the article originally released in the Telegraph on Sunday night as we'd not been contacted by Dairy UK or The Telegraph for comment, nor have we been contacted since," Charlotte and Rachel Stevens said in a statement sent to Plant Based News.
"We've been totally blown away by the support from the community both online and offline and agree with our consumers that our use of the term 'plant-based cheese' is not confusing or misleading in any way.
"Interestingly, the word 'cheese' originates from the Proto-Indo-European word 'kwat' which means to ferment or sour; a process which our nut- and soy-based products undergo. We will continue to be open to the public as usual during our regular opening hours and will continue to serve our fantastic customer base by sourcing the best plant-based cheese the UK has to offer.
"We feel that there’s enough room for everyone in the market and we welcome our extended cheese family at Dairy UK to join us at our Brixton store during our opening hours which can be found on our website. We again thank our community for the ongoing support."