I was recently interviewed about food naming for The Allusionist, the language podcast conceived and hosted by Helen Zaltzman.* Helen wanted my take on plant-based alternatives to animal-based foods, an industry that’s seen a lot of growth lately, and also a fair amount of pushback from Big Carnivore. (See the final item in my July Linkfest for a news story about Mississippi banning the use of “burger” and “hot dog” in the names of vegan substitutes. Across the Atlantic, the EU has also attempted to restrict the use of meat-associated words for vegetarian substitutes.)
The BLUF: Names of vegan foodstuffs are a lot less imaginative than the ingredients and technology that go into producing them, and generally rely on familiar terms from the world of animal protein.
The names fall into four broad categories: