Following a long tradition of defending Catalan language and culture at a grass root level, a new association has been established. The newly created Organisation of Consumers and Users of the Catalan Language (Organització de Consumidors i Usuaris en Llengua Catalana) aims to boost the use of Catalan on food product labels - a sector where it is currently almost non-existent. In 1998 a Catalan Linguistic Policy Law was passed to promote the use of the language on commercial products, but the law failed to account for people failing to comply with the new regulation. According to the Organisation, there is a potential market of 11 million consumers who, to some degree, speak or understand Catalan language. A special website that includes the most common products, divided into different categories of food and drink in a bid to get consumers and business involved in the initiative. A list shows those companies or trademarks which use Catalan on their labels, either alongside Spanish or even exclusively. The promoters of the website, “only want businessmen trading with or in Catalan speaking regions to do exactly the same as they do in other countries, even in those with a smaller population”. For example, Spanish wine is labelled in English in the UK. They are referring to the fact that Catalan is, based on the number of speakers, the seventh language in Europe, after German, English, French, Italian, Spanish and Dutch. The overall aim is to promote a “normalised and respectful” use of Catalan on the products, particularly taking into account that most consumers understand and use Catalan. Assuming the fact that people buy their food products also on a linguistic basis, the promoters point out that consumers can do their share of promoting the language by buying certain goods. This may - at some point - also financially benefit participating companies. One of the partners of this initiative is the Association for the Use of Catalan on Labels (ADEC), which regularly publishes a list of food companies that use Catalan on their products. They state an impressive increase in the use of Catalan: while in 1989 only 308 companies used this idiom on their food labels, ten years later already 1.538 firms are doing the same. Among the companies that are especially aware of this linguistic issue are producers of water and wine, along with companies selling traditional food products, such as cheese, milk, eggs or chocolate.


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