India is set to introduce the country’s first vegan food safety standards and labelling regulations. Having formulated its draft report, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) will issue guidelines to define plant-based food products and help consumers identify the products.
The FSSAI has debuted its draft for the Food Safety and Standards (Vegan Food) Regulations 2021, representing India’s first food safety standards dedicated to plant-based products. In addition to defining what constitutes vegan food, the guidelines will also introduce a new vegan food logo to help consumers identify such products.
Vegan food safety and labelling
According to the draft, vegan food will be defined as: “Foods or food ingredients that have not made use of any ingredients, additives and processing aids of animal origin including milk and milk products, fish, poultry and meat, egg or egg products, honey or honey bee products, materials of insect origin.”
It also says that vegan food must exclude any “ingredients that are clarified using animal sourced products,” such as bone char used in sugar production, or the use of isinglass (fish swim bladder) in the clarification process of beer brewing.
Furthermore, the regulations outline that producers must not use any animal testing, and that this will be included in the final product safety evaluation to ensure proper licensing for vegan products.
Vegan products that adhere to the standards will be labelled with a new logo created by the FSSAI, helping consumers identify products that are 100% animal-free and vegan-friendly.
India’s plant-based industry
The new standards come as India’s plant-based industry continues its rapid growth. While North America and Europe are still the most mature plant-based markets, India is now home to a growing number of local food techs and brands developing vegan meat, egg and dairy alternatives.
Investment has also been pouring into the sector, with plant-based pioneer GoodDot, which also runs the country’s first vegan fast food chain GoodDo, securing the first VC funding within the Indian plant-based meat segment last month.
Since then, a number of Indian plant-based startups have announced funding rounds, including vegan dairy maker Goodmylk and plant protein ingredients firm Proeon.
Veganism is on the rise
Driven by rising awareness about health, sustainability and animal welfare, an increasing number of consumers in India are adopting veganism—or at least going “part-time vegan”, otherwise known as flexitarian.
Earlier this year, global plant-based movement Veganuary released the results of its 2021 campaign, and found that India made it to the list of top 10 countries with the highest number of pledgers. India stood in third place, behind a tie between the US and UK and Germany, and represented the only Asian country to make it to the list.
6 cities in India were also listed on the top 15 cities with the most sign-ups for Veganuary, among them Bengaluru, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune and New Delhi.
According to Veganuary, as many as 85% of its participants this year now plan on making their newfound plant-based habit a part of their permanent lifestyle.
Lead image courtesy of Greenest Foods.