European Vegetarian Union

Image by/from Swissveg

The European Vegetarian Union (EVU) is a non-profit, non-governmental umbrella organisation for vegetarian societies and groups in Europe. The union works in the areas of vegetarianism, nutrition, health, consumer protection, the campaign for animal rights, ecology, general information and against world hunger. Headquarters are in Winterthur (Switzerland), together with the Swiss organisation Swissveg.

The main activities of the EVU are:

As the demand for vegan and vegetarian products in Europe has continued to rise, the European Vegetarian Union has tried to define how to label “vegetarian” and “vegan” items. They have argued that the vegan label on a product should have a clear and standard meaning. They have put forth 2 main requirements:

Despite the organization’s efforts, the European Commission initially refused to enact any changes. The EVU has continued to lobby state governments, especially in Germany because the country experienced more widespread support for the labeling legislation. As a result, “consumer protection ministers of German Lander unanimously agreed on a proposal for a wording of the definition of the terms “vegan” and “vegetarian” for food labelling and put it into effect for the food control authorities within their jurisdictions, making it de facto binding.” A recent 2018 report predicts that “vegan” and “vegetarian” labels will be required to meet the EVU’s criteria by the year 2020.