Soymilk or soy drink?
Soymilk (or soy milk or soya milk) does not exist in Europe! At least, you don't see the name "soymilk" on cartons containing milky beverages made from soybeans. Soymilk is labelled all over the world as "soymilk", except in European countries where legislation prohibits the use of the word "milk" for drinks that are not made from mammary secretions. Council Regulation 1234/2007 clearly specifies that "the term milk shall mean exclusively the normal mammary secretions obtained from one or more milkings without either addition thereto or extraction therefrom". The same regulation also limits the use of other popular designations, such as cream, cheese and yoghurt for products derived from mammary milk. This regulation is clearly created to protect the dairy industry and to make life of the soy industry a bit more difficult. Other food products using the name milk, such as coconut milk and almond milk, are tolerated and granted an exception, obviously because these milks are not competing directly with mammary milk.
Reaction of consumers
Most consumers aren't aware of this legislation and even haven't noticed the special name "soy drink". They simple call it "soymilk" and know its specific composition and properties.
Reaction of the soy industry
Since soy food producers cannot use a name which is common to consumers and which describes the nature of the product, they have to be creative about the name of their products.
We haven't' seen any trespassers on the European market labelling their soy drink as "soy milk". Most of the time, they use the denomination "soy drink" and in France they even have a special word, tonyu. Soy yoghurt is often labelled as "vegetable alternative of yoghurt" and soy cheese as "dairy-free alternative to cheese". ENSA
, the European Association of Natural Soyfoods Manufacturers expresses its concern as regards the provision of Regulation 1234/2007 and calls on the European Commission and Member States to grant an exemption for "soymilk" and allow the usage of the term "soymilk".