How is PBFA’s Certified Plant Based Seal Different from Vegan?

As you’ve seen on our blog and widely covered in the news, PBFA recently launched the first and only Certified Plant Based seal.

Now, we want to make sure that folks understand what our seal means, and how it’s different from the vegan label. While PBFA completely supports those companies that want to use the vegan label, from numerous conversations with our members we realized there is room for a plant-based seal as well.

The most important thing to understand is that for PBFA, “plant-based” means 100% free from animal ingredients. We make no exceptions to this rule.

From there, the two seals differ in the following ways:

  • Certified Plant Based focuses on plant-based meat, egg and dairy alternatives, while the vegan label can be applied to a wide range of food and non-foods. The first two PBFA members to have foods certified are great examples of this focus: Tofurky and Oatly.
  • While the word vegan tends to focus on what is not in the food, the PBFA Certified Plant Based seal defines what the food is made of, namely plants.
  • Because of this approach, we were faced with a hard decision about what to do about non-plant-based (but still vegan) additives. We compromised on allowing such ingredients, but only up to a 5% threshold. We are unaware of the vegan seal having any such upper limit for artificial ingredients. In other words, for a vegan seal, a food could be vegan, but not at all derived from plants.
  • Certified Plant Based foods are independently verified by NSF International and must pass its review before the label can be used. In contrast, the vegan label does not require third-party, independent verification. Independent verification provides a higher level of objectivity and integrity to claims.
  • While Certified Plant Based provides the same animal-ingredient free assurance as the vegan label, ours reaches more consumers. In the U.S. 39 percent of consumers are trying to eat more plant-based foods while only 3 percent are vegan. Vegan is a specific lifestyle and label, while plant-based can include a wider array of people who enjoy Meatless Mondays or are flexitarian.

This is an exciting step for the fast-growing plant-based foods industry, and we look forward to helping many companies increase consumer confidence in their brands. Looking for more information?

  • Read the press release here
  • Check out NSF’s page here
  • Read the definition here.

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