The Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA), the first and only U.S.-based trade organization supporting plant-based food companies, announced the launch of The Plant Based Foods Institute (PBFI), a sister non-profit organization to PBFA. PBFI will work domestically and internationally to identify, implement, and evaluate effective approaches to advance business and policy best practices in support of a regenerative, plant-based food system. Specifically, the organization will promote a food system “that respects the rights of all animals to live free of exploitation, ensures fairness for farmers and workers, promotes good health and nutrition, is restorative and remains within ecological limits.”
While PBFA focuses on championing, elevating, and strengthening its members and the U.S. plant-based foods industry through key policy and marketplace-based initiatives to expand access to plant-based foods, PBFI’s goal is to cultivate solutions that shift government and marketplace policies, agricultural practices, and demand toward a regenerative, plant-based food system. PBFI’s current initiatives include:
- The Domestic Sourcing Initiative: Connecting plant-based food companies with domestic supply network partners, such as farmers, processors, ingredient suppliers, and manufacturers, creating collaborative opportunities for American farmers and rural communities, developing and advancing policies that support domestic production of plant-based ingredients.
- Implementing strategies to influence U.S. policy in support of a transition to a sustainable plant-based food system through keystone policy efforts like the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the upcoming Farm Bill.
- Developing industry-standard life cycle assessments to quantifiably demonstrate the environmental benefits that plant-based foods offer over their animal-based counterparts to inform procurement practices and target setting for large buyers, such as retailers and foodservice operators, as a strategy to meet Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals.
- Increasing the availability of plant-based foods in institutional and commercial foodservice settings such as schools, hospitals, while supporting the development of a strong distribution pipeline for plant-based foods.
Beyond these U.S.-focused initiatives, PBFI’s focus will be carried into the global arena through the collaborative efforts of the International Plant Based Foods Working Group (IPBFWG), a coalition of eight international plant-based food trade associations, including PBFA, Plant-Based Foods of Canada, European Alliance for Plant Based Foods, European Plant-based Foods Association, Plant-Based Food Alliance UK, the Plant Based Foods Industry Association (India), the Mexican Association of Vegan Entrepreneurs, and China Plant Based Foods Association.
PBFI will be championing and advising the work of the IPBFWG through its own dedicated international initiatives and a re-granting program that will support the resourcing of the group’s key global priorities. PBFI is also working with the IPBFWG on creating an International Programs Advisory Committee to inform the work of both PBFI and the IPBFWG.
With global momentum for plant-based foods at an all-time high, the formation of the IPBFWG signals the start of a new era of international collaboration to bring about a future that counters the climate, environmental, and social harms of industrial animal agriculture with a resilient, equitable plant-based food system, PBFA said.
“Through the work of PBFA and the Institute, our goal is to create a world where values and business interests harmonize to create a plant-based food system that respects the dignity and health of all living beings and the planet,” said Rachel Dreskin, chief executive officer of PBFA and PBFI. “Driven by the urgent need for change, enthusiasm for advancing the plant-based foods movement can be felt across the globe. We are an industry united by a fervent mission to elevate and strengthen the ever-growing community of plant-based food companies, and through the joint effort of our two organizations, the guidance of our boards, and collaboration from IPBFWG members, we have the foundation, core values, and expertise to drive change at the global level.”
The announcement of PBFI comes ahead of Plant Based World Expo (PBW), PBFA’s official tradeshow and North America’s only 100% plant-based event designed exclusively for foodservice and retail professionals, distributors, investors, and manufacturers. Ahead of PBW, PBFI will host the first in-person summit of IPBFWG members to discuss and strategize the advancement of the global plant-based foods industry.