The Spanish meat industry’s attempt to sue plant-based meat maker Heura for its recent controversial billboard advert in Madrid has been denied by a Barcelona court. The advert exhibited the words “one beef burger pollutes more than your car” as part of the startup’s campaign to educate consumers about the environmental impact of conventional meat.
A court in Barcelona has rejected the Spanish meat industry’s request for precautionary measures before the filing of a lawsuit against Heura for its advertising campaign. The billboard advert, which went up in central Madrid in November last year, was launched to inform the public about the carbon footprint of meat consumption and had to be taken down after a meat industry-affiliated associations Interporc and Provacuno lodged the precautionary measure.
The magistrate judge ruled that Heura will be able to continue its environmental campaigns and awareness-raising about the impact of traditional livestock farming. At the time, the billboard advert said in smaller words: “Releasing over 32,000 million tonnes of CO2, the livestock industry is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, followed by transportation.”
“Heura’s advertising messages have a scientific basis and are taken from scientific reports and studies issued by publications and organisations of recognised prestige, such as the journal Science, Nature or the FAO,” concluded the court.
People often underestimate how much positive impact we can have on the world with small gestures. We are very pleased to be able to continue contributing by raising awareness and empowering citizens.Marc Coloma and Bernat Añaños, Co-Founders, Heura
Commenting on their legal win, co-founders of Heura Marc Coloma and Bernat Añaños described the court’s decision as a “great step forward for everyone”.
“Information is power and awareness is transformative,” added the co-founders. “People often underestimate how much positive impact we can have on the world with small gestures. We are very pleased to be able to continue contributing by raising awareness and empowering citizens.”
Heura plans to continue to create an “open dialogue” about building a more sustainable food system, and hopes that consumers will be able to make better-informed decisions once they understand the impact of our food choices.
Swapping out one cow-based beef burger for a plant-based Heura burger – the newest version of which has been dubbed as the world’s healthiest – could save the equivalent carbon emissions of driving 26 kilometres, for instance.
Information is power and awareness is transformative.Marc Coloma and Bernat Añaños, Co-Founders, Heura
Other plant-based meat companies have also touted the sustainability of their offerings, with food tech giant Impossible Foods saying that their burger requires 96% less land, 87% less water and emits 89% fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to its animal counterpart – making every sale that comes at the expense of real meat a step forward in reducing the footprint of our diets.
Coloma and Añaños added in a statement that with their legal win, they hope Heura can be at the forefront of making Spain a global leader in the fast-growing plant-based industry – and it looks like the startup is already well on its way to achieving this goal.
Since their inception in 2017, the company has expanded its retail and foodservice presence from its headquarters in Barcelona to France, Portugal, the Netherlands, Singapore, Hong Kong, Chile and most recently, the U.K. and in Italy. According to its annual report, Heura has also managed to triple its turnover in 2020.
All images courtesy of Heura.