PBFIA urges FSSAI to speed up awareness & training programs for plant-based food start-ups

Sanjay Sethi, executive director of PBFIA (left) and Arun Singhal, chief executive officer of FSSAI (right)

Sanjay Sethi, executive director of PBFIA (left) and Arun Singhal, chief executive officer of FSSAI (right)

Photo - PBFIA

The Plant-Based Foods Industry Association (PBFIA) is a CEO-led body formed to support and help develop India's nascent plant-based food ecosystem. In a recent meeting held at Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) headquarters, PBFIA urged FSSAI to develop an effective training program to help plant-based food start-ups climb the high bar set by FSSAI to safeguard consumer interest.

The global plant-based foods market is booming, and India, with its diverse indigenous agricultural system, can become a potential export market by capitalizing on rising domestic and international demand. This is not going to be easy. Sanjay Sethi, executive director of PBFIA, appealed to FSSAI and other stakeholders to handhold food start-ups to adhere to the highest food quality standards that big food FMCG companies have already achieved.

Arun Singhal, chief executive officer of FSSAI, stated that as a regulatory body, they want to raise awareness about plant-based foods and support training programs. In this regard, they seek support from the Plant-Based Foods Industry Association and have asked them to submit a proposal on effective measures to help increase awareness and effective training programs.

FSSAI has established an incredible standard for ensuring the availability of safe and wholesome food in our country, and the confidence that FSSAI has earned with customers is unparalleled. PBFIA had an opportunity to speak with Inoshi Sharma, executive director of SBCD and Regulatory Compliance and Bhaskar Narayan, advisor, FSSAI, about the overall protein scenario and challenges in terms of consumer barriers, regulatory and advertising perspectives, and advances made in global regulations.

Sanjay Sethi, executive director of PBFIA, told FSSAI, "Since the vegan standard would be new, we must train and handhold plant-based start-up entrepreneurs to build the capacity to comply with the requirements of the standard fully."

Narayan clarified that it is not that only FSSAI officials would be required to certify the vegan foods and said, "Just like organic standard, here too, third party certification procedures have been prescribed which would be a hassle-free process."

Building an ecosystem for the same will benefit our entrepreneurs and farmers. Additionally, in line with the Prime Minister's Start-up India initiative, India's growing plant-based food start-ups require mentoring, assistance with quality research, better infrastructure to follow the necessary procedures, and incubators.

This industry's expansion has the ability to enhance India's economy and create new jobs and achieve the Prime Minister's goal of doubling the farmer's income. Everyone will gain, from food technology experts to farmers.

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