Conscious consumerism has picked up and how. It all has spiraled up in just the last two and a half odd years with Gen Z, millennials, and Gen Alfa making a transition towards a well-balanced and ethical lifestyle, food choices, and keeping their choices guilt-free.
India is seen as a significant potential market for plant-based meat products. The challenge however lies in building and scaling a sustainable category. From a handful of a few brands encouraging vegetarians to try meat, the industry now has a dozen players which include startups and legacy food brands that are diversifying into plant-based meat products. One such brand is Blue Tribe. It is the new plant-based meat-loving tribe set to expand its footprint for meat-loving people of the planet who can engage with meat and also leave the animals to enjoy theirs.
Blue Tribe is a plant-based meat alternative aimed at non-vegetarians who want to switch to a healthier and guilt-free version of meat. Their scientists have successfully identified and developed meat with the same texture and taste minus the animal.
The HoReCa (Hotel, Restaurant, and Catering) industry leaders are expecting this newly opened segment to reach $1 billion by 2030. These products are already available on e-commerce platforms and large-scale retail chains.
Blue Tribe has a PAN India presence across offline stores. It retails through four main channels:
1. Direct to Consumer (D2C) - Their website bluetribefoods.com is live and they do direct deliveries in 15 cities in India.
2. Offline Retail - They are present at a majority of top gourmet food retailers and destination stores in the country including chain stores like Natures Basket, Simpli Namdhari, Modern Bazaar, Foodhall, Spencers as well standalone retailers like Neelam Foodland (Mumbai), Fresh n Easy (Dehradun), Mango Hyper (Bangalore), Supermarche (Ludhiana) to name a few. At this point, they’re present in approximately 600+ stores in PAN India. Offline presence helps them solve a key consumer need viz tasting the product through live sampling.
3. Online retail and Quick Commerce - They are available on all the e-tailers like Amazon Fresh, Big Basket, and even quick commerce apps like Swiggy Instamart, Blinkit, Dunzo, etc. They help with availability and reach in the absence of a destination offline retailer. Since this is a new category, their aim is to get maximum people to try/taste the product and also create awareness about the same. To do this - they carry our wet sampling at all the top retail stores in the country and also spend on branding to build awareness and help build the category.
4. HoReCa - They are seeing good demand coming from top hotel chains as well as restaurants. Plant-based or Vegan options are now finding their way into mainstream menus and are not limited to those 1 or 2 restaurants in the area which are exclusively vegan.
“We are not eyeing India alone. India is currently at a very nascent stage in the plant-based category trajectory. The main objective here is to drive awareness about the category and the need for its existence. Markets like Singapore, the Middle East, Europe, US are at a maturity stage wherein they would like to differentiate themselves as being the plant-based meat meant for Indian cuisines and taste palettes,” said Sohil Wazir, CCO, Blue Tribe.
Power of Brand Ambassadors
Having the right people to speak for your brand is equally important to build brand affinity. Blue Tribe roped in Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma as its brand ambassadors and investors.
“This has helped drive awareness for the category as well as our brand,” he asserted.
This power couple is undoubtedly one of India’s most loved and looked up to as a pair. Both Anushka and Virat have been following a plant-forward diet for many years, they believe in the concept and the potential it has to heal the planet. With this segment needing a lot of awareness in the country, who better than the two biggest stars to spread the message and create awareness?
The current marketing strategy at this point is getting the focus on building the category and creating awareness.
“This is done by highlighting the benefits plant-based meats have for your health and also the health of the planet. Apart from this, there is a lot of apprehensions that people have towards the taste of plant-based meats, so they take up sampling in huge quantities to show people how their products taste and how similar to the meat they are,” he stated.
The segment is new and any brand trying to build itself has challenges of its own along with the industry and category. These brands don’t just solve a problem for a consumer but in a way set an example for influencing conscious consumerism and conservation in the larger scheme of things.
The small segment/market size makes it hard for them to operate at economies of scale. This being a research-heavy industry, the costs are high at the moment. However, according to recent reports, the plant-based meat market in India is set to grow to about $500 million in 2030, with this they expect to see pricing coming at parity with that of animal-based proteins.
Blue Tribe is experiencing a doubling of revenue every quarter, albeit at a small base. Key markets are the top-tier metro cities along with cities like Dehradun and Chandigarh.
“Contrary to popular belief, about 90 percent of our consumers are meat eaters. They are looking to reduce the amount of meat that they consume. There is a very small percentage of vegetarians looking to try meat and go the plant-based meat way,” he explained.
“D2C has contributed to 20 percent of the sales in the last full quarter,” he further added.