The new Plant Based Foods Association intends to increase visibility of plant-based foods and eliminate policies that put them at a disadvantage to meat and dairy products.
Photo © iStockphoto.com/Diane Labombarbe
A new trade association is setting out to increase visibility of plant-based foods and challenge policies that may put them at a disadvantage to meat and dairy products. The Plant Based Foods Association, which launched in March, now boasts 38 companies on its online membership roster and a board of directors helmed by leaders from Follow Your Heart, Daiya Foods, Upton’s Naturals, The Tofurky Company, and Miyoko’s Kitchen.
Melt Organic, one of the first companies to join the new group, called it “the first-ever trade association to advocate for plant-based foods,” in a public announcement.
“Every other sector of the food industry-from sugar to organics-is represented in the policy arena,” said Michele Simon, executive director of the Plant Based Foods Association, in a press release. “The time has come for the plant-based food industry to also have a collective voice.”
One of the association’s key objectives is to educate retailers, food service professionals, and consumers about the health benefits of plant-based foods and the abundance of such products currently on the market.
“Many consumers are still unaware of the high-quality, great-tasting, plant-based foods available,” Simon told Nutritional Outlook. “We plan to educate retailers about the growth opportunity in plant-based foods and make sure products like Melt Organic Buttery Spreads and Sticks are given prominent placement on store shelves where shoppers can discover them. We will also work on policies to ensure that plant-based foods are not at an economic disadvantage when compared to their animal-based counterparts.”
What kinds of policies are working against plant-based meats, milks, eggs, and butters? For one, labeling restrictions that complicate the way plant-based foods can be marketed.
“Our federal and state labeling laws are in many ways outdated and favor the animal foods industry,” Simon told Nutritional Outlook. “For example, a company that makes a nut-based cheese faces challenges in how to label that food in a way that consumers can easily understand.”
And with SPINS data indicating the plant-based foods industry is worth approximately $3.5 billion in sales and growing, the Plant Based Foods Association intends to ensure the best policies and business practices are in place for plant-based food companies to continue capitalizing on the demand and stay competitive with animal-based food products.
Nutritional Outlook Magazine