Led by a board of food systems experts and plant-based foods industry pioneers, PBFI will provide fundamental, business-oriented solutions to advance the global plant-based foods industry and counter the harms of industrial animal agriculture. 

SAN FRANCISCO (Sept. 6, 2022) – Today, the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA), the first and only U.S.-based trade organization supporting plant-based food companies, is proud to announce the launch of The Plant Based Foods Institute, PBFI, a sister non-profit organization to PBFA. Working in alignment with the PBFA’s ethos that business can be a vehicle for transitioning our food system, PBFI works 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—one 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. 

The plant-based foods industry represents an opportunity to innovate and optimize the way we feed the world. Fifty-seven percent of food production emissions come from raising animals for meat and dairy and growing crops for animal feed. Industrial animal agriculture consumes a majority of freshwater and land resources while driving deforestation and biodiversity loss worldwide. As recent IPCC reports have made clear, food systems change has never been more imperative. Plant-based diets are a tangible, actionable path towards a healthier, more sustainable, more resilient, and more equitable food future for all. PBFI will work with stakeholders at every stage of the supply network to make this future a reality.

Today marks the official announcement of the Board of Directors of PBFI, which represents a diverse range of leading brands and esteemed food system advocates, champions, and experts. Board members include:

  • Rachel Dreskin, CEO, PBFI and PBFA
  • Jaime Athos, CEO, The Tofurky Company  
  • Matt Dunaj, CFO & VP of Operations, Follow Your Heart 
  • Liz Ross, Founder and Executive Director, Rethink Your Food
  • Audrey Tran Lam, Environmental Health Program Manager, Center for Energy and Environmental Education within the University of Northern Iowa
  • Tyler Whitely, Director, Transfarmation Project at Mercy for Animals
  • Garrett Broad, Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Catalysts for Sustainability program at Rowan University

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: 

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

“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, CEO 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, which takes place September 8 – 9th at the Javits Center in New York City. 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. 

PBFI and PBFA will exhibit jointly at the event (booth #235) and will participate in a number of informative conference panels on the future of plant-based foods. PBFA will also host a Member Appreciation Happy Hour on Sept. 8 from 5-6:30 p.m. at the Javits Center South Concourse (opposite Hall 1E). PBFA members can register here.

For those interested in joining our PBFA community, please email Maddie@plantbasedfoods.org. More information about PBFI and its work can be found at https://pbfinstitute.org/. Those interested in learning more about IPBFWG can visit https://www.ipbfwg.org/

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About the Plant Based Foods Association 

The Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) is the only trade association in the U.S. representing over 320 of the nation’s leading plant-based food companies. PBFA’s mission is to champion, strengthen, and elevate our members and the plant-based food industry. PBFA empowers the industry by advocating for government policies that allow fair competition while expanding market opportunities for retail, distribution, and foodservice to support the continued growth of the plant-based foods industry. 

About the Plant Based Foods Institute

The Plant Based Foods Institute (PBFI), PBFA’s sister non-profit organization, is focused on driving plant-based food system transition through policy and business strategies. Driving this transition requires a holistic approach that recognizes the complexity of the challenges we face, builds bridges across sectors, and ensures businesses can thrive—and it requires solutions that work for a diverse coalition of food system participants. That’s why PBFI incubates, implements, and evaluates strategies that empower the broadscale change we need, through the power of plant-based.

About IPBFWG

The International Plant Based Foods Working Group is comprised of trade associations that represent companies involved in the plant-based food space in their respective countries. We are united in our efforts to bring about a healthier, more sustainable, and more humane food system.