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05/04/2021

Certification program for plant-based foods hits store shelves

New seal aims to help consumers identify animal-free products

A new certification seal aims to help consumers easily find plant-based products (also known as vegan) on store shelves.

Plant-Based Foods of Canada (PBFC) partnered with the U.S.-based Plant-Based Food Association (PBFA) to make its “Certified Plant Based” food certification program available in Canada. The first products carrying the seal have now hit Canadian grocery store shelves.

“We want to make it easy for Canadian consumers to confidently identify plant-based products as the plant-based food industry continues to grow and new products enter the market,” said Leslie Ewing, PBFC executive director, in a press release. “The Certified Plant Based seal provides assurance that products contain no animal-derived ingredients.”

The protocol, owned by PBFA, focuses on plant-based alternatives to animal-based foods and specifies the criteria to use the Certified Plant Based seal.

The protocol defines plant-based food as a finished product consisting of ingredients derived from plants that include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds and/or legumes (peas, beans, pulses, etc.). The product cannot contain any animal-derived ingredients. Plant-based foods that are eligible to receive the certification include meat alternatives, egg substitutes, and dairy alternatives such as plant-based milk, cheese, yogurt, butter and ice cream.

Daiya Foods, a Burnaby, B.C.-based dairy alternative food company and a founding member of PBFC, is one manufacturer that will be featuring the Certified Plant Based seal on all of its products. “We believe it is important to support programs that help ensure credibility in quality standards, especially as more consumers include plant-based options in their daily food choices,” said CEO Michael Watt, in the release.

Recent research from Nielsen shows plant-based foods in Canada continue to post strong sales growth even throughout the pandemic, and are now valued at over $500 million.

Research conducted by Nielsen for PBFC found identifying products as “plant-based” is important to consumers as they’re looking for assurance that products are not from animal-based sources. PBFC said the new seal would instill consumer confidence, build awareness of plant-based food options, and establish a consistent identifier for the plant-based foods industry.

Plant-Based Foods of Canada is a division of Food, Health & Consumer Products of Canada.