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100% plant-based foods definition agreed for the first time

11 December 2020

BSI, in its role as the UK National Standards Body, has today published the first standard to establish clear and simple criteria to define 100% plant-based food. Its publication will help to ensure a level playing field and fair practices in communication and labelling.

It launches as consumers are reducing their consumption of animal-derived foods because of concerns about effects on their health and the environment1. The rising demand for 100% plant-based food across all geographies has driven a significant increase in new product development from both established players and disruptor companies2.

This internationally applicable standard, called PAS 224:2020, 100% plant-based foods – Characteristics and composition – Code of practice, sets out agreed terms and definitions, principles and recommendations on manufacturing and presentation and claims in relation to 100% plant-based foods.

The PAS states that 100% plant-based foods should be food whose characterizing ingredients are derived from plants and should not contain any animal-derived ingredient.

The PAS covers a number of other definitions which have an impact on 100% plant-based foods, including the definitions of food, food additive and claims – many of which are sourced back to the global FAO collection of guidelines and codes of practice for food: the Codex Alimentarius.

Sara Walton, Food Standards Lead at BSI said: “We have recently seen considerable investment from companies across the spectrum, creating a growing market in new plant-based products for consumers. More and more of these products can be found on the supermarkets’ growing ‘alternative’ shelves. PAS 224 is the first consensus standard to define 100% plant-based foods. Its publication will help to enable consumers to make informed choices.”

This standard has been produced by a steering group3 of consumers and technical experts representing manufacturers and producers.



[1] Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. (2018). The rise of plant-based food products and the implications for meat and dairy. Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board:

2 Deloitte. (2019). Plant-based alternatives Driving industry M&A:

3 Steering group

The steering group is made up of representatives from the following organizations; Campden BRI, Consumer & Public Interest Network (CPIN), Food and Drink Federation, IKEA Food Services AB, IMACE, Quorn Foods, SSAFE, The Vegan Society and Upfield.

Publicly Available Specification (PAS) standards

PAS standards are characterized by their development process, which includes:

  • Sponsorship by private companies, industry, government and trade associations
  • Oversight by a steering group of experts constituted specifically for the purpose, and chaired by a BSI staff member independent of any external interest
  • Active public consultation, usually of shorter duration than for a British Standard, and targeted in particular at a selected review panel identified as having expertise and a close interest in the subject matter

Find out more about PAS standards >