As the plant-based trend continues its upward trajectory, it has become imperative that a program be developed to ensure that consumers can expect the same standards and transparency of other certification programs.
To this end, the ACG is creating two food-industry stakeholder working groups to develop the first globally-recognized and voluntary program.
According to ACG, the PBCP symbol will verify the claims made on-pack to build brand loyalty, protect the brand’s reputation and differentiate products associated with making the same claim.
“Although there appears to be little or no current regulations around these claims, our PBCP will be designed to enable consumers to make safe and informed choices, while also meeting the current and future practical needs of our industry,” said Paul Valder, AGC’s president and CEO.
Growing number of flexitarians
The global plant-based food market is estimated to be valued at over $4.6bn in 2018 and is forecast to grow at a 7.1% CAGR between 2018 and 2028.
The trend has certainly made its way into the snacks sector, with a growing portfolio of NPD launches of meat alternative snacks, cereal-/grain-based snacks, plant-based salted snacks, plant-based snack bars, and fruit and nut snacks.
According to Future Market Insights, the plant-based snacks market is expected to witness an 8.7% CAGR by 2028, driven by the increasing consumption of snacks, along with the growing health and wellness consciousness among consumers.
However, although more consumers are inclining towards plant-based proteins – viewed as green natural ingredients – over animal-based proteins, 86% of US consumers do not consider themselves as vegans or vegetarians.
‘Plant-based proteins aren’t just for vegans and vegetarians anymore,’ said market research firm NPD Group, adding plant-based foods have become more available.
“The key message for the customer related to our PBCP is to communicate that making a plant-based consumer claim is all about food and diet, where vegan claims are strictly a lifestyle. Consumers today want to incorporate plant-based foods into their diet, but do not consider themselves vegan,” said Katie Daniels, technical program manager at ACG.
“Retailers, brands and manufacturers around the globe can now gain operational and financial efficiencies, by combining their existing annual third-party food safety audit, together with both our gluten-free and plant-based certification programs.”
The ACG said a limited number of seats are still available to brand owners, retailers and manufacturers wanting to participate.
The first face-to-face sessions will be hosted in both North America and Europe towards the end of February 2019.