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Plant based foods association launches certification program

The Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) announced the launch of the first and only plant-based food certification program. The Certified Plant Based program’s protocol, certified by NSF International, focuses on plant-based alternatives to animal-based foods and specifies the criteria required to make a certified plant-based food claim.

Foods eligible for certification include meat alternatives such as plant-based meat, poultry, and fish; egg substitutes; milk alternatives; and other dairy alternatives such as plant-based cheese, yogurt, butter and ice cream. PBFA members Tofurky and Oatly are the first brands to participate in the new program. The first certified food and beverages include Tofurky’s Italian Sausage and Oatly’s Original, Barista, Mocha Barista, Chocolate and Low-Fat varieties.

“The launch of the Certified Plant Based seal is an exciting next step for the fast-growing and innovative plant-based foods industry,” said Michele Simon, PBFA’s executive director. “As consumers are looking to purchase more plant-based options, this new seal ensures confidence in what plant-based means.”

PBFA-commissioned data from Nielsen released earlier this year revealed plant-based food sales grew by 20 percent from the previous year, outpacing every other food sector by 10 times. With the rise of innovative plant-based foods such as plant-based yogurt, cheese and meats, 39 percent of Americans are trying to eat more plant-based foods, according to a 2017 Nielsen Homescan survey.

“Plant-based food sales are growing rapidly,” said Steve Taormina, manager for NSF International’s Consumer Values Verified Program. “The best way for consumers to navigate the marketplace and make confident purchasing decisions is to look for independent certification of the plant-based claim.”

A 2017 survey of U.S. consumers revealed 83 percent of respondents wanted to add more plant-based foods to their diets to improve their health and nutrition, according to Statista. Additional responses included eating plant-based for weight management (62 percent), the desire to eat “cleaner” (51 percent), health concerns or diagnosis (24 percent), to save money (17 percent) and environmental concerns (14 percent).

Plant-based food and beverage innovation was abundant in the 2018 SupplySide CPG Editor’s Choice Awards announced at SupplySide West on Nov. 8 in Las Vegas. Click here to see the finalists in the plant-based category.

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