The term “plant-based” is on everyone’s lips but it is frequently used with a variety of different meanings, in popular media as well as the scientific literature. This can lead to misunderstandings, including in the evaluation of scientific studies, for example, when some authors use the term “plant-based” to mean vegan diet while others use this term to refer to a flexitarian diet that is characterized by a strongly reduced meat intake (compared to typical consumption levels).

In a new article in the German journal “Ernährungsumschau”, we propose a pragmatic and clear definition of the term “plant-based”. We hope that this article can be a valuable contribution to the discussion about plant-based dietary patterns. Particularly in science, it is desirable to use terms that are as precise as possible and to not overlook relevant differences, in this case differences between different plant-based diets. We believe that the increasing number of discussions about plant-based dietary patterns will continue to drive the shift towards an increasingly plant-based society.