The European V-Label

Already 30 years ago there had been efforts to launch a vegetarian label worldwide. In fact William Pick, founder and President of the Jewish Vegetarian Society, tried to introduce a universal vegetarian symbol already in 1976.

The present V-label was created by the Italian artist Prof. Bruno Nascimben (Castenaso) and presented for worldwide use at the EVU Congress 1985 in Cervia, Italy. Since then many vegetarian and vegan organisations have adopted the logo so that it became the most widely used vegetarian symbol worldwide.

The market for vegetarian products and meat alternatives is growing rapidly and there is clearly a demand to help consumers identify these products.

In Switzerland, licences are granted to the food industry since 1996. Since then the label has been launched in ever more countries and is now introduced in almost all European nations, from Portugal to Russia. A lot of work has been invested regarding the regulations, criteria and many other issues. A growing number of vegetarian organisations are joining this initiative of the European Vegetarian Union.

Why This Label?

1. A problematic situation

  • Not enough safeguards when buying vegetarian or vegan (entirely plant-based) products.
  • Food that is supposedly vegetarian offered on the market.
  • A general mistrust with regard to pre-prepared food.
  • More and more so-called convenience foods, where the respective meat products are difficult to detect just by looking.

2. The Solution

  • Clear marking of all meat-free products on offer
  • Designation of caterers/restaurants who supply food which is suitable for vegetarians.

3. Aims

  • Quick and clear recognition of vegetarian and purely plant-based products
  • Promotion of the growing vegetarian and purely plant-based product market sector
  • European-wide uniform labelling of vegetarian products
  • Promotion of vegetarian choices in restaurants

4. Target Groups

  • Food-conscious consumers
  • Consumers cutting down on their meat intake
  • Vegetarians
  • Allergy sufferers
  • Members of religious communities with specific dietary restrictions (i.e. prohibition of pork and other pig products, Kosher or Halal)

Here you find more information as to what consumer groups are addressed with the vegetarian labelling: consumer groups
After the outbreak of BSE in Germany around 8% of Germans claimed that they had become vegetarian. According to a forsa study a good 30% of 18-25 year old women stated that they ate meat only once a week and wanted to reduce this further; this means that 6.4 million people in Germany could profit from having the V-label. The same trend can be seen in other European countries. According to the study by Nutri-Trend, already 9% of the population in Switzerland (almost) always eats vegetarian food.

Animal feed scandals, and others relating to the meat industry, are yet again causing more and more consumers to turn to a vegetarian lifestyle.

The V label has a long term aim – to continually increase the meat-free market sector.

This label helps the food industry and restaurants cope with a trend which will only get stronger in the future.

About The EVU

The European Vegetarian Union (EVU) is an “umbrella” organisation for most vegetarian groups in Europe. EVU’s mission is to further the cooperation of European vegetarian groups and to inform the public.

In view of the ongoing internationalization and merging on the food sector, the EVU launched a standardised European V-label with the aim of easy identification of vegetarian products and services. However, the EVU itself does exist for some time already:

The Development of EVU

The original plan of increased cooperation went into a more concrete phase during the first European Vegetarian Congress in Cervia, Italy in 1985. In December of the same year, representatives from seven European vegetarian societies met at Brussels to discuss possibilities for collaboration. In the year 1988, the EVU was founded and officially registered as international union in The Netherlands. At the moment the Secretariat is in Belgium.


The EVU sees itself as an umbrella organisation for European vegetarian societies and assists them in their respective activities with regard to vegetarianism, animal rights, ecology, the campaign against world hunger and matters of health and consumer protection.

The first aim of EVU is to support the vegetarian societies in the different European countries and to bring their members together, especially in those countries where vegetarian ideas have not yet been clearly developed.

The cooperation between the member organisations is achieved mainly through the quarterly magazine “European Vegetarian”, where all events, trends, developments, initiatives and activities are reported, which have a bearing on vegetarians.

Of paramount importance are also personal contacts between vegetarians throughout Europe, the creation of international understanding, an exchange of ideas and information and mutual help. It is to this end that EVU meetings and events are arranged in order to inform, through lectures and working groups, about recent developments and discoveries and thereby improve efficiency and solidarity. Future EVU seminars are to serve the intensive training of co-workers in different fields.

Through membership of the International Vegetarian Union (IVU), the EVU has contact with the international vegetarian community.

In the long term, it is the intention that EVU monitors international economic and political developments closely, influencing them, where required and feasible.

Membership for Organizations

Any organisation aiming at the promotion of the vegetarian idea can join the EVU as a full member. For societies with similar programmes, the possibility of an associate membership is offered. Furtheremore individuals and families are welcome as associate members, supporting the work of the EVU morally and financially. At the moment the EVU has about 90 member-organisations.

Supporting the European Vegetarianism

EVU is the only vegetarian organisation working at an international European level in the interest of vegetarian organisations and individuals. EVU is independent from commercial and political influence and all the officers are volunteers. This also means that EVU can achieve its aims only with the help of members and supporters.

Please join the EVU as full or associate member. The minimum fee for individual members is only 20 Euro at the moment. Vegetarian organisations pay a fee according to the number of their members. The magazine “European Vegetarian” (in English) is included in this subscription.

Since the income through memberships is not sufficient for far reaching and important campaigns, any donation is accepted with gratitude.


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