By Clare Naden
The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken everyone’s world, but it’s not all bad news. Sustainable purchasing has increased as a result, along with a reduction in meat consumption, as consumers are more acutely aware of their own health and that of the environment.
It is hardly a surprise when the claimed benefits of being vegetarian (not eating meat) or vegan (abstaining entirely from the consumption of animal products and by-products) are many, from being kinder to animals to being kinder to your heart. Not to mention having a clearer conscience, as eating a plant-based diet has less impact on the environment.
So it is even less of a surprise that the number of products to meet this demand has risen in recent years, with new trademarks for meat and dairy substitute products popping up everywhere, such as vegan cheese and ice cream, meat-free meatballs, and more.
Although in some jurisdictions there are various labels and laws that aim to best inform consumers, there is no global reference that everyone agrees on. Until now.
ISO 23662, “Definitions and technical criteria for foods and food ingredients suitable for vegetarians or vegans and for labelling and claims,” provides an internationally agreed-upon and reliable reference that the food and beverage industry can use when marketing its products.
Dominique Taeymans, project leader of the group of experts that developed the standard, said conformity to ISO 23662 provides the necessary criteria to ensure integrity and coherence in product communications.
“Today’s consumers expect clear, consistent, and honest messages related to the food products they choose to purchase, particularly those with specific diets such as vegetarians or vegans,” Taeymans says. “Conformity to this document helps to ensure that everyone is playing to the same rules and definitions, providing clarity and reassurance for the consumer and facilitating local and international trade.”
ISO 23662 was developed by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 34, “Food products,” whose secretariat is held by AFNOR, ISO’s member for France. It can be purchased from your national ISO member or the ISO Store.
About the author
Clare Naden is news and communications specialist at the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).