The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has put in place first-of-its-kind regulations for vegan food products within the country.
The new rules clearly define what constitutes vegan food and how brands can label it.
FSSAI is explicit in its definition of vegan food: it is a consumable that uses no animal products at all. This begins with the ingredients list and extends to the manufacturing process.
All production environments must be free of animal products. But if they cannot be avoided entirely, brands should adhere to strict anti-contaminant practices.
Animal testing is strictly prohibited during the development of vegan food (unless FSSAI gives permission).
Food products have to display a plant-based logo. Additionally, they have to use packaging that makes the animal-free nature of the food evident. Vegan products imported from outside of India will need to adhere to the same labeling rules.
The FSSAI first drafted vegan food regulations in September last year.
India as a vegan market driver
According to New Food Magazine, taste and nutrition company Kerry identifies India as a growth-driving market for the plant-based food sector. Surveys revealed a general openness to vegan food options, with 41 percent of the population already eating six or more plant protein varieties.
“The opportunity and potential for plant protein foods in India is promising,” Gunjan Pandey, marketing director for Kerry Southwest Asia, said in a statement.
“Currently, the region’s alternative meat market is valued at $171 million. And it is expected to grow at 8.5 percent CAGR by 2025. The past five years have also seen consistent new launches with the number of meat substitute launches rising year-on-year.”
As a result, the number of domestic vegan food companies, like leading brand Good Dot, is increasing. This, in turn, has pushed the FSSAI to implement clear-cut rules for the production and packaging of plant-based items.
Vegan food labeling furor
India’s packaging labeling rules appear more accepting of the plant-based sector than Turkey, France, and South Africa.
All three countries are clamping down on vegan food terminology and even production. Turkey is the latest nation to come under fire, following its blanket ban on products that “give the impression of cheese.”