First thing’s first: what's a vegan diet?
People who follow a vegan diet eschew all foods and products of animal origin—including milk, eggs and gelatin. Instead, vegans rely on plant-based alternatives made from ingredients like grains, nuts, seeds and beans, just to name a few.
That said, plant-based substitutes are known to be richer in fibre, antioxidants, potassium, magnesium and other vitamins and minerals than their counterparts—and provide health benefits like weight loss and lower rates of cholesterol. Moreover, they’re more environmentally friendly to produce and don’t require killing living, breathing animals.
Pretty great deal, right? It’s no wonder that more and more people are switching over to a vegan diet, especially in India! In this blog post, we explore the Indian plant-based space, so let’s get right into it!
In a recent Ipsos report, Food Habits of Indians, the majority of respondents (63%) indicated a preference for plant-based foods over meat.
Indians may love specialties like tandoor chicken and fish curry, but plant-based foods are seen as being more environmentally friendly, ethical, and having more health benefits than animal products.
It's no secret that there is a growing demand for plant-based foods. Even International brands like Starbucks and Domino’s are noticing the rising popularity of vegan options in India!
According to Good Food Institute's Smart Protein Market Size study - By 2030, the Indian vegan food market will be valued around USD 1.4 billion (11,270 crore) to 3.8 billion (30,134 crore).
On top of that, India is one of the leading markets in the Asia Pacific region for vegan meat-, dairy-, egg- and fast-food alternatives (such as ice cream, chips, and muffins). The future looks bright!
Some of the biggest factors driving growth in India's vegan food market are global trends (which supports India's home-grown market), increasing consumer awareness about a healthier lifestyle due to rising rates of chronic diseases, increasing concern for climate change and animal welfare, and an upswing in restaurants catering to those who are veg-curious.
India is unique in that plant-based foods are expected to connect socio-cultural divides as a growing middle class—along with deep-seated cultural views on meat consumption, increased knowledge of global foods, and awareness for better protein sources—transforms our country's eating habits.
The demand for vegan products is greatest in Delhi, as people there have a larger appetite for dairy and non-veg foods. Other important regions include Kolkata, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Nagpur, Chennai, and so forth.
Check out our other blog post on the top 5 most vegan friendly cities in India!
As of 2022, there are more than 50 startups and over 80 brands launching new and exciting products while doing their bit to spread veganism to the masses.
Whilst India is not technically a “vegetarian nation,” it is certainly the most veg-friendly country in the world thanks to a deep-rooted emphasis on meatless diets.
According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5), conducted in 2019-21, around 33% of the Indian population is vegetarian. That’s 1 in 3 people! As for the number of vegans, there isn’t enough research to give an accurate estimation, but we can assume it’s relatively small.
But still, that's a large market. Think about it: hundreds of millions of people are just a few steps away from being vegan. The market for vegan products may not deepen overnight, but we think there will be some BIG changes over the next decade.
If you’re a vegetarian who doesn’t think it makes a difference to go vegan, we’ve written another blog post about why it does here so check it out!
Because the rate of chronic illnesses is beginning to skyrocket in India, people are becoming interested in eating better. And since plant-based foods are healthy, more and more people are seeking them out. As a result, this is fueling much of the demand for vegan food in India.
In response, vegan companies are spreading awareness about the benefits of plant-based foods over meat products and creating high-quality products with a variety of flavours to help consumers lead the healthier lifestyles they’re after.
Because of COVID, the vegan food industry in India changed its consumer preference from brick-and-mortar distribution channels to online retail platforms.
More people spent more time online, and consumers became more aware of the role that meat and dairy industries play in climate change.
The message is clear: veganism isn't going anywhere, no matter what happens!
The market is divided into sub-groups to identify areas where there's a lot of growth and potential. Currently, dairy substitutes hold the largest total share — which isn't very surprising to us!
In India, the consumption of dairy products is higher than meat consumption in both rural and urban areas. So clearly, the dairy alternative sector experiences the highest performance.
In fact, The Good Food Institute projects that plant-based dairy in India will grow from $21 million (at present) to almost $64 million by 2024 at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 20.7%. Whoa!
Here’s the other segments to watch out for:
1. Dairy alternatives
2. Meat substitutes
3. Egg alternatives
4. Vegan baked goods
5. Vegan snacks/fast-food
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