Ojasvi Uppal• March 17 2023

Navigating the Regulations on Advertising and Claims for Smart Protein Products in India

Food Safety and Standards (Advertising and Claims) Regulations, 2018 | Food Safety and Standards (Vegan Foods) Regulation, 2022 | ASCI Code

In an effort to protect consumers and equip them to make informed decisions about their food choices, the food regulatory body in India – the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), has laid down regulations for advertising food products and making claims about them – such as ‘Vegan’. This article seeks to provide a snapshot of the advertising and claims regulations in India for smart protein producers. Detailed information about the regulations can be found in the Good Food Institute India’s Regulatory Mini-Guide series, which can be found here.

(The link will take you to the live guide on google drive, which is regularly updated. If you have any queries or would like to raise any concerns and give feedback, please contact the GFI India team at india@gfi.org)

Food Business Operators (FBOs) looking to make health, nutrition, non-addition, and conditional claims must refer to the Food Safety and Standards (Advertising and Claims) Regulations, 2018. As per this regulation, FBOs cannot use the words/phrases such as ‘natural,’ ‘fresh,’ ‘original,’ ‘traditional,’ ‘premium,’ ‘finest,’ ‘best,’ ‘authentic,’ ‘genuine,’ ‘real,’ etc. on food labels except under specific conditions detailed therein. Such restrictions are primarily aimed at reducing the open-ended use of these terms without providing evidence to corroborate their use. Further, in certain instances, FBOs may be required to obtain ‘prior approval’ by submitting scientific evidence to make certain health and nutrition claims. The regulation simplifies the process for FBOs by listing a set of already permitted claims. There are defined criteria that need to be fulfilled to display different types of nutrition claims (including nutrient content or nutrient comparative claims), non-addition claims (including non-addition of sugars and sodium salts), health claims (reduction of disease risk), claims related to dietary guidelines or healthy diets, and conditional claims. It also highlights claims that are specifically prohibited.

The FSSAI has also recently tried to address the growing consumer interest in smart protein (also known globally as alternative protein) – specifically plant-based products derived from plant sources to substitute or provide an alternative to animal-derived meat, eggs, dairy, and seafood. Through the Food Safety and Standards (Vegan Foods) Regulation, 2022, the FSSAI has defined ‘Vegan foods’ and the approval process for endorsement. For certification, FBOs must submit an application under Form-A of the regulation with the necessary documentation and an application fee of INR 25,000 per product variant. 

The regulatory guide also has information on non-compliance with the Advertising Standards Council of India’s voluntary guidelines, which contain a code of best practices and principles for advertising.  

*This is the obligatory fine print: this guide and other published content are not legal advice and should not be construed as such. It has been prepared for general informational purposes only, and readers are encouraged to seek professional counsel to address questions specific to their situation

Go to the full Advertising and Claims Guide

Related articles

Varun Deshpande • November 2018

Why India is a priority for plant-based and clean meat innovation

read
Mary Allen • November 2018

Why GFI is taking good food global

read
Mary Allen • January 2019

Your 2019 reading list: Plant-based and clean meat essentials

read
Mary Allen • February 2019

2018 Year in Review: Nourishing the world sustainably

read
Mary Allen • March 2019

New study highlights plant-based and cultivated meat acceptance in the U.S., China, and India

read
Ramya Ramamurthy, Varun Deshpande • March 2019

World’s first cellular agriculture research center, coming to Maharashtra

read
Ramya Ramamurthy • April 2019

Indian government grants over $600,000 to cell-based meat research

read
Mary Allen • May 2019

Watch Bruce Friedrich’s TED Talk on plant-based and cell-based meat

read
Ramya Ramamurthy • August 2019

How Goodmylk Founder Abhay Rangan Is Making Plant-Based Waves in the Indian Dairy Market

read
Bruce Friedrich • September 2019

Cultivated meat: Why GFI is embracing new language

read
Varun Deshpande • September 2019

3 Key Takeaways on India from the Good Food Conference

read
Ramya Ramamurthy • October 2019

Global Innovators Can Make All the Difference in Emerging Markets

read
Mary Allen • November 2019

How plant-based meat can help heal our soil while feeding more people than ever

read
Bruce Friedrich • March 2020

The Upshot Of My India Trip

read
Nate Crosser • May 2020

New GFI State of the Industry Reports show alternative proteins are poised to flourish post-Covid-19

read
Shardul Dabir • June 2020

The India Smart Protein Innovation Challenge: Unlocking talent bottlenecks

read
Nicole Rocque • August 2020

The India – Netherlands Smart Protein Corridor

read
Liz Specht, Ph.D.Nate Crosser • September 2020

GFI releases first-ever State of the Industry Report on fermentation in alternative proteins

read
Ryan Huling • December 2020

BREAKING: World’s first approval of cultivated meat sales

read
Susan Halteman , Victoria Wheeler • December 2020

GFI’s top 20 moments for alternative proteins in 2020

read
Erin Rees Clayton, Ph.D. • February 2021

How pulses are powering global alt protein innovation

read
Ryan Huling • May 2021

WHO and GFI Convene Historic Workshop to Discuss Global Regulations for Alternative Proteins

read
Ayesha Marfatia & Varun Deshpande • December 2021

Expert insights from behind closed doors: Building smart protein infrastructure

read
Shardul Dabir • July 2022

The India Smart Protein Innovation Challenge: Transforming the future of food and training the next generation of innovators

read
Padma Ishwarya, Radhika Ramesh, Devika Suresh • January 2023

Skilling ‘industry-ready’ talent for smart protein in India

read
Chandana Tekkatte • February 2023

‘To meat or not to meat’ – the future of plant-based proteins

read
Nicole Rocque • April 2023

The story behind the numbers: smart protein investments in India

read
GFI India • January 2024

UNEP and GFI India convene a panel on synergies between sustainable agriculture and smart protein in the Indian context

read
Radhika Ramesh • April 2024

GFI India at UNEA-6: Sustainable Protein Diversification and Multilateral Environmental Action

read