India has been a predominantly vegetarian country for centuries, with a growing number of people turning to plant-based diets in recent years. Plant-based meat is a relatively new concept in India, but it has gained popularity in recent years, reviews Saleem A Taqvi.
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Plant-based meat has gained popularity due to its potential environmental benefits, including reduced greenhouse gas emissions and land use compared to traditional animal farming. Moreover, plant-based meat provides an alternative for individuals seeking to reduce their consumption of animal products while still enjoying the sensory experience of meat-based dishes.
People commonly refer to non-animal-based foods as “plant-based”. The majority of plant-based foods are vegan (by the way all Certified Plant Based foods are vegan). In some cases, the term “plant-based” refers to foods that are made primarily from plants but also contain animal-derived ingredients.
The industry has seen significant growth in recent years, with numerous companies and brands offering a wide range of plant-based meat products, from burgers and sausages to chicken nuggets and seafood alternatives.
Plant-based meat products have been gaining popularity around the world as more and more people are adopting a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. India, with its large vegetarian population, has seen a surge in demand for plant-based meat products in recent years. These products are made from plant-based ingredients that mimic the taste and texture of meat, and are often marketed as a healthier and more sustainable alternative to traditional meat.
Plant-based meat products are gaining popularity in India. The plant-based meat market in India is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15.6% from 2020 to 2025. The Indian government has also taken steps to promote the plant-based meat industry.
The plant-based meat market in India is still in its early stages, but it has already attracted the attention of several major players in the food industry. Companies such as Good Dot and Veggie Champ have launched a range of plant-based meat products, including burgers, sausages, and kebabs, which are sold in supermarkets and online stores across the country. The demand for these products has been driven by a growing awareness of the health and environmental benefits of a plant-based diet, as well as a desire to reduce the suffering of animals in the food industry.
The Emergence of Plant-Based Meat in India
Indians have a long history of consuming soybeans, dairy, and pulses for protein. However, public health officials along with private groups are acknowledging the need to promote greater protein consumption. As a result, multiple initiatives have emerged to increase’s India protein consumption through plant-based meat alternatives:
- Eat Right India is led by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare with the aim of helping citizens make healthy food choices and adopt a sustainable diet featuring plant-based foods to support the fight against global climate change.
- The Right to Protein initiative educates Indians about the importance of including adequate protein in their diets for health and nutrition reasons.
- The Plant Factor is a food innovation challenge initiated by the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organizations to spur the development of plant-based meat substitute products.
Plant-based meat is an emerging trend in the food industry globally, and India is no exception. The plant-based meat market in India is expected to grow significantly in the coming years, driven by the increasing concerns over animal welfare, environmental sustainability, and health benefits associated with plant-based diets.
According to a report published by Research And Markets, India’s Plant-Based Meat market is estimated to advance at a compounded annual growth rate of 7.48% during the forecast period of 2021-26, reaching US$ 47.57 million by 2026. The market is largely driven by rising health concerns, coupled with an increase in awareness of different diseases caused by a deficiency in proteins. Over the next few years, growth in the number of vegetarians will continue to fuel the market.
According to the Good Food Institute (GFI) India, the country has seen several start-ups enter this space over the last two years, retailing their products in over 19 cities across India. But this kind of growth in a new space that deals directly with what people consume also comes with a number of caveats.
Target Consumer Groups for Plant-Based Meat Substitute:
- Vegetarians and flexitarians
- Millennials and other young consumers
- Urban, middle class consumers
- Health conscious and ethical consumers
- Protein deficient consumers
- Non-vegetarians and ‘guilty’ meat eaters
The emergence of plant-based meat in India has also caught the attention of international players. A variety of domestic and international companies have entered the market to offer innovative alternatives to traditional animal-derived meats. Brands such as Good Dot, Veggie Champ, and Greenest are crafting plant-based versions of popular meat products, including burgers, kebabs, and sausages, using ingredients like soy, peas, lentils, and wheat protein.
The emergence of plant-based meat in India has also caught the attention of international players. Beyond Meat, a US-based company, has partnered with local restaurants and food chains to introduce its products in India.
Even global giants like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat are making their presence felt. These products not only cater to the vegetarian and vegan population but also appeal to health-conscious consumers and those looking to reduce their meat consumption.
The Indian government has also taken steps to promote the plant-based meat industry. In 2021, the Ministry of Food Processing Industries launched a scheme to support the development of plant-based meat products in the country.
Market Analysis of Plant-Based Meat in India
Steadily rising since 2010, investment in plant-based meat, dairy, and eggs has dramatically increased in recent years. Plant-based meat products are gaining popularity in India due to their health benefits and ethical considerations. The market for these products is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years.
According to a report by Meticulous Research, the plant-based meat market in India is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15.6% from 2020 to 2025. The growth is attributed to the increasing demand for healthy and sustainable food products among the Indian population.
The report also suggests that the demand for plant-based meat products is driven by the rising number of vegans and vegetarians in the country. As per a survey conducted by Ipsos in 2020, around 28% of the Indian population is vegetarian, and the number is expected to increase in the coming years.
Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has also contributed to the growth of the plant-based meat market in India. The pandemic has raised concerns about the safety of consuming animal-based products, leading to a shift towards plant-based alternatives.
The market is dominated by international players such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. However, several Indian startups such as GoodDot and Veggie Champ are also gaining traction in the market. These companies are focusing on developing plant-based meat products that cater to the Indian palate and are affordable for the masses.
Sustainability of Plant-Based Foods
In addition to drastically reducing and, in many cases, eliminating the need for factory-farmed animal products, plant-based foods require far less water, land, and energy than their animal-based counterparts to produce. For example, according to the University of Michigan’s Center for Sustainable Systems, Beyond Meat burgers require 99% less water, 93% less land, 46% less energy, and generate 90% fewer greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) than cow meat burgers.
Similarly, the production of plant-based dairy alternatives requires far less land, water, and energy than the production of animal-based milk, butter, yogurt, and other foods and emits only a fraction of the GHGs. Research also indicates consuming plant-based meat, dairy, and egg alternatives can yield health benefits.
Overall, plant-based meat is an exciting development in the food industry. It offers a sustainable, cruelty-free, and healthy alternative to traditional meat products. With the growing demand for plant-based meat, many companies are now investing in research and development to create even more innovative and delicious products.
Despite challenges such as pricing and taste perceptions, the trend towards plant-based meat alternatives in India signifies a promising shift towards more sustainable and compassionate eating habits, indicating a positive trajectory for the future of food consumption in the country.
In conclusion, the plant-based meat market in India is poised for significant growth in the coming years, driven by the increasing demand for healthy and sustainable food products among the Indian population. The market is expected to witness the entry of new players, leading to increased competition and innovation in the sector.