How vegan food trend is disrupting Indian market
How vegan food trend is disrupting Indian market

We have seen that food habits of not just Indians but across globe have gone through lots of innovations and people have been looking at healthier option when they eat out. As per a research more and more people are choosing a healthier and vegan style looking for healthy alternatives for meat substitutes.

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How does the market look like

As per a report, the global vegan food market reached a value of about USD 15.4 billion in 2020. Driven by the rising awareness of the health benefits of these products, such as reducing the risk of heart diseases, cancer, and other diseases. The market is further expected to grow at a CAGR of 9 per cent in the forecast period of 2021-2026 to reach a value of approximately USD 26.1 billion by 2026.

“The environmental, health and ethical benefits of veganism are beyond doubt. More and more of us are going vegan. The environmental and ethical case for a diet free of all animal products, including meat, fish, dairy and eggs is compelling,” shared Natalia Jimmy Mistry, Marketing at Della Adventure and Resorts whose 30 per cent of the customers visiting at the Lonavala-based resort are vegan.

According to a research from the University of Oxford, going vegan is the “single biggest way” to reduce your impact on the planet. And that is before you consider the ethical arguments against eating industrially farmed animals, which have an appalling quality of life and are often pumped full of powerful antibiotics that may pose a risk to human health.

“You are what you eat, this awareness has grown. People have evolved from what they used to be up until even a decade ago. Earlier, the cattle or poultry used to be procured, it would be bred ethically. Today, the use of GMO crops has increased; genetic modifications of these animals have been on the rise. So consumption of meat is not healthy. Now, if someone wants to eat healthy, the only way is to try and reduce the carbon footprint and try to get better quality produce. This can be fulfilled by eating vegetarian foods,” added Chef Arnez of Santé Spa Cuisine BKC that doesn’t promote a particular way of healthy eating rather promote the lifestyle as a whole.

Why more & more people are turning vegan

“Veganism is still nascent in India. But there are people who are very curious about the idea and are looking at more and more plant-based options into their diet. A lot of vegan and plan-based products are targeting such people as it helps them to make that switch. And, we can say that vegan curious market is really growing,” explained Shraddha Bhansali of Evo Foods that is leveraging the biodiversity that India has and make clean products from India to the world.

“We use chickpeas and moong beans and extract the protein isolates and process them in a proprietary way in which they form an egg liquid. So, we make eggs from plants using house hold everyday ingredients and it gives you higher protein than eggs, zero cholesterol, no antibiotics. So, all the good of the egg without any bad,” added Bhansali.

According to a report, North America and Europe are some of the leading regions for the industry. The growing population of lactose-intolerant consumers is expected to further aid the market in North America and Europe as these consumers are increasingly seeking out alternatives to dairy products. In the coming years, with the rising awareness of animal rights, growing disposable incomes, and changing lifestyles, the Asia Pacific region is expected to present lucrative growth opportunities to the leading players in the industry.

“Normally the words plant-based and vegan are used interchangeably. However, there is a subtle difference between the two. Veganism is primarily growing on account of more awareness related to well being of animals. The avoidance of exploitation of animals for food etc is something that is the primary reason for people to turn vegan. In the case of plant-based options which are by default vegan, the primary driving force is health and environmental sustainability.  So consumers looking for vegan products are more swayed by ethical considerations. Consumers who are looking for plant-based products are swayed more by health and environmental reasons,” pointed Abhishek Sinha, Co-Founder, GoodDot who has innovated with food products that taste like meat but are made from 100% plant-based ingredients. These are tasty, healthy, and affordable alternatives to animal meat products.

People who either follow vegan or plant-based movement are doing for health reason, sustainability and climate issue.

Driven by sustainability at large

“Indian market is well travelled and well versed with the global change. People are turning vegetarian, vegan and pescitarian due to their proven health benefits,” said Arup Saini of newly-launched Recca that has seen 60 per cent of the customers visiting them as vegan.

Saini also pointed that an alternative way of life has become the new global norm. “It has been proven that countries in the blue zone have seen longer life expectancy and going back to the roots is the only way forward,” he added further by saying that they will continue to innovate with indigenous produce with their culinary team and research and present a seasonal menu which will be plant based 60 per cent every quarter

“We are working on healthy food and food products. Plating of food is an ART. And we are focusing on the art of plating in structural food presentations to give our guests that wow element in their dining experience. Our aim is to have the guests’ attention in the first look. Like they say, first impression is the last impression,” added Mistry by sharing that mindfulness, a practice based on Zen Buddhism, has become popular as a way of self-calming and as a method of changing eating behaviours.

Targeting the right audience

Plant-based meat spaces are poised for exponential growth in the coming years. More and more consumers will eventually shift to plant-based foods in the future.

“These consumers are the ones who are well-read and inquisitive. They are keeping track of the innovations happening in the food space globally. There are also people who are well-traveled and have seen firsthand the benefits of plant-based foods which have become a craze in the western world. People in the age group of 20-35 are one of the earliest adopters of plant-based alternatives,” added Sinha who is supplying to brands like Dominos, Marriott, Leela, Trident, Sofitel, Radisson, ITC, etc.

Not just this, we have also seen cafes and restaurants also increasingly looking for plant-based alternatives to cater to increasing consumer demand.

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“We are targeting people who either practice a healthy lifestyle or are trying to transition into one. We are trying to teach people how to eat healthy in a flavourful manner.  For example, one could like hummus as a dish but not like the increased fat content. We have a replacement on the menu that is not only just as delicious but is also a much healthier alternative,” added Arnez for whom the future for this kind of cuisine is very vast. It is going to evolve a lot in the coming years.

How does the future look like

“We have merely scratched the surface of Veganism or Plant-based diets! In the future, more humans will depend on sustainability because global warming isn’t going anywhere and this will lead to several seasonal changes which will ultimately hinder our lives,” pointed Arnez.

And, there is no denying that the hospitality industry in general has been very receptive with the idea of plant-based foods even if you see the way almond, soy milk has picked up across cafes. That’s a great trend that restaurants have witnessed. And, it’s all because of the transparency it offers as compared to dairy industry.

“It’s so early to say what’s the future of this cuisine would be but I can say it’s the need of the hour. Though, a lot of people might not want to adopt this but with time this is going to be a part of food chain just because UN has released a report saying by 2040 we are going to have a huge food crisis if we don’t address now. In terms of food availability this is going to be the future,” concluded Bhansali.

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