environment

Vegans Upset with Gelatine-Based Label Designed to Reduce Food Waste

“This makes as much sense as Sellotaping a piece of raw meat to the top of the package."

Ruby Lott-Lavigna

Ruby Lott-Lavigna

Photo via Mimica Lab.

Guys, the planet is dying and we’re not doing enough. Sure, you can use a tote bag from your favourite record label for your weekly Morrisons shop (Rush Hour), keep your leftovers in reusable Tupperware, and buy a £17 nitrate-free water bottle, but there’s still so much more to be done.

Despite the impending doom set to hit our planet, one company trying to do its bit to reduce food waste and help the environment was heavily criticised this week. The reason? Its use of the animal byproduct, gelatine.

Mimca, a London-based startup, designed a label that becomes bumpy when the food it is touching has gone off. Created for use on dairy products including milk, cheese, and yoghurt, the label works by mimicking the decomposition process of the food it’s attached to.

To do this, it requires gelatine. As the gelatine decomposes with the dairy product, it causes the label to go bumpy, which indicates to the consumer that the food is most likely off.

While it is undoubtedly helpful to know when to throw out dodgy milk, Mimca’s use of gelatine, a substance made of animal bones and skin, has not been well-received by some. According to the Evening Standard, the use of animal products in this way has prompted criticism from vegan and vegetarian organisations.

Elisa Allen, Director PETA, told MUNCHIES via email, “This makes as much sense as Sellotaping a piece of raw meat to the top of the package and, when it gets maggoty, throwing away whatever it's attached to.”

Allen also pointed out the hypocrisy of using a substance sourced from meat production—an industry shown to contribute to about half of the world’s carbon emissions—to try and reduce the environmental damage of waste food. “PETA supports efforts to reduce waste and make food production more sustainable,” she continued, “but gelatine comes from the meat industry—which is violent and cruel and one of the world's largest producers of greenhouse-gas emissions—so its use doesn't add up.”

*Sigh* So close.