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My cousin always looks for this little green icon before she buys anything that is eatable. I was wondering what is the thought behind these icons.

To be specific these don't pictorially depict veg or non veg, I mean if you show these icons to someone who doesn't know already what they are for no way they can get their meaning.

  1. So how did they educate the user about their purpose?
  2. Why squares and circles?
  3. Why not use pictorial representation of veg and non-veg, since it would be easier to convey the meaning?
  4. Are these standard icons to be followed that somebody designed?
  • What country is this from? I'm in UK and never seen those and would never guessed it was about vegeterian/non vegetarian Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 12:46

1 Answer 1


It's not a universal standard but a system imposed specifically in India by the Food Safety and Standards Act (2006).

...A declaration to this effect shall be made by a symbol and colour code so stipulated for this purpose to indicate that the product is Vegetarian Food. The symbol shall consist of a green colour filled circle inscribed in a square with green outline having side double the diameter of the circle.

The law says that vegetarian food should be identified by a green symbol and non-vegetarian food with a 'brown' symbol (although it looks more red to me).

It's not a particularly good system, considering the prevalence of colourblindness, and red-green colourblindness in particular.

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