CHINA – The Chinese Institute of Food Science and Technology (CIFST)has released a draft group standard for the Plant-based food sector.

The new standard provides definitions, technical requirements, and guidelines on the labeling, packaging, transportation, and storage of plantbased meat alternative products.

It defines plant-based foods as those produced through certain techniques using plant-derived raw materials (including algae and fungi) or their processed products as the sources of protein and fat, adding or not adding other ingredients.

According to CIFST, such foods have one or more characteristics including shape, flavor, and texture that are similar to certain animal-derived foods.

The classifies plant-based foods into five distinct categories namely, plant-based meat, dairy, egg, frozen drinks, and other products.

The new standards also provides basic requirement for plant-based food processing, clearly stating that Protein and fat should be derived from plant-derived raw materials; animal-derived protein and fat shall not be added.

When it comes to labelling, the new standard states that the words “plant,” “plant-based,” “plant protein,” and “plant-derived” shall be used in product names to reflect the true attributes of plant-based foods.

Where not used, the standard requires that an explanation shall be provided by using the words “plantbased,” “plant-derived,” or other descriptive words on the same page as the food name.

Additionally, for foods produced using plant-based foods, a note that relevant materials are of plant-based origin shall be communicated to consumer.

“ It is advisable to provide such a note on the same display side where the product name is printed,” the standard recommends.

The new standards come at a time when the plant-based foods market in China is expanding at a rapid pace thanks to quick uptake by consumers.

Archer-Daniels-Midland Co., one of the world’s biggest agricultural traders, projects that the country’s plant-based market will grow to $14.5 billion in 2025 from under $10 billion in 2018.

ADM Asia Pacific President Leo Liu notes that e uptake of locally-sourced plant-based protein has generally been faster in China than in other parts of the world and the industry there is moving quickly beyond burger analogues.

Alternatives to shrimp and shellfish, plant-based cheeses and ready-to-eat protein snacks are all becoming more popular, he said.

This makes it important for the country to have a group standard for plant-based foods, and that is just what CIFST. The standard will be implemented on June 25, 2021.

CIFST is a scientific and policy advisory body that provides input to the Chinese government and actively engages in food science and technology communications.

The organization was established in 1980 and is primarily composed of Chinese scientists and engineers.

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