The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has taken a strong stance on labeling of dairy products and plant-based beverages. In recent years, there has been a growing trend of consumers opting for non-dairy alternatives like almond milk, soy milk, and coconut milk, and this has prompted FSSAI to issue guidelines to regulate the labeling and marketing of such products.
According to FSSAI, milk is defined as "the normal mammary secretion obtained from the udder of any mammal." This means that products made from non-dairy sources like almonds, soybeans, and coconuts cannot be labeled or marketed as milk. FSSAI has issued guidelines for the labeling of such products, requiring them to be labeled as "plant-based beverage" or "plant-based alternative to milk." They cannot use terms like "milk", "curd", "yogurt" or "cheese" on their packaging or marketing materials.
FSSAI's guidelines have been welcomed by the dairy industry, which has been lobbying for stricter labeling regulations to protect the integrity of the term "milk." According to industry sources, the use of terms like "almond milk" and "soy milk" is misleading and can confuse consumers, who may not realize that these products are not actually made from milk. FSSAI's guidelines will help to clear up any confusion and ensure that consumers are not misled by false or misleading information about the composition of food products.
On the other hand, the plant-based beverage industry has also welcomed FSSAI's guidelines, as they provide clarity and consistency in the labeling of non-dairy products. The plant-based beverage market has been growing rapidly in India, driven by rising health concerns and environmental awareness among consumers.
According to a report, the plant-based beverage market in India is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14.8% during the period 2021-2026.
FSSAI's guidelines for plant-based beverages apply to all non-dairy products, including those made from nuts, seeds, grains, and vegetables. In addition to requiring them to be labeled as "plant-based beverage" or "plant-based alternative to milk," the guidelines also require manufacturers to provide information on the composition of the product, including the percentage of plant-based ingredients and any added sweeteners or flavors.
As the demand for non-dairy products continues to grow, it is important that these products are labeled accurately and honestly, and FSSAI's guidelines are an important step in that direction.
As a registered dietitian, I highly appreciate FSSAI's guidelines on dairy labeling and plant-based beverages. These guidelines help ensure transparency and accuracy in the labeling and marketing of food products, which is crucial for the health and well-being of consumers.
It is important to note that while plant-based beverages like almond milk, soy milk, and coconut milk are a good alternative to dairy products for those who are lactose intolerant or have a milk allergy, they may not be nutritionally equivalent to milk. Milk is a rich source of calcium, vitamin D, and protein, which are important for bone health and overall growth and development. Plant-based beverages may not provide the same amount of nutrients as milk, so it is important to choose fortified products that provide these nutrients.
As a registered dietitian, I can provide personalized nutrition advice and help you make informed choices about your diet. If you have any questions or concerns about dairy products or plant-based beverages, I encourage you to schedule an appointment with me. We can discuss your dietary needs and preferences, and develop a customized plan that works best for you.
In conclusion, FSSAI's guidelines on dairy labeling and plant-based beverages are a step in the right direction towards promoting transparency and accuracy in the food industry. As a registered dietitian, I emphasize the importance of choosing nutrient-rich foods to meet your dietary needs. If you need help with your nutrition goals, please don't hesitate to schedule an appointment with me.