Recently, India has witnessed exponential growth in the sphere of plant-based meat alternatives like Soy, Wheat, Pea protein, Mushroom, Lentil, and Jackfruit, which are used to make chicken, sausages, burgers, kebabs, biryanis, vegetarian pulled pork, and vegetarian steaks. The increasing presence of such alternatives and their market for it has in turn led to a substantial rise in their availability on restaurant menus. Owing to factors like carbon footprint, sustainable agriculture, animal welfare, health concerns, environmental impacts, and other ethical and religious reasons, there has been a paradigm shift towards vegan products.
Growth of Plant-Based Meat Market in India
While India's plant-based meat market might still just be in its nascent stages as compared to the global rise of vegan products, the nation still holds a very reputable position. According to a study, India's vegan market in September 2022 was estimated to be around Rs 300 crore. However, by 2026, the country's potential has been predicted to be around Rs 3,500 crore, which is a growth of 8-10x.
Another study suggests that India, which will be impacted by the tremendous economic implications of veganism, will grow to $500 million by the end of 2024. It is also anticipated that plant-based dairy sales will also increase to $63.9 million by 2024, thereby showcasing a CAGR of 20.7 per cent for 2022-24 period.
The Increasing Popularity of Plant-Based Meat Products on Restaurant Menus
Going out to restaurants to enjoy the cuisine of your choice is an experience quite unlike any other, regardless of whether you're ordering starters or finishing your meal with red meat, pork, or roasted duck. However, modern times have created a growing awareness of the environmental and health impacts of meat consumption, and innovation in plant-based meat alternatives.
As it has been found in recent years, the adoption of plant-based diets and lifestyle changes can directly contribute towards a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Much due to the presence of antibiotics on animals for meat production and ever-increasing cholesterol-related health problems, people in India are now eying innovations in the food industry for vegan foods. Importantly, restaurants are also taking note of it, and hereby choosing to include many such plant-based meat options on the menu.
Restaurants are beefing up plant-based meat options on the menus owing to the increased demand from guests. With soy and wheat-based mock meat a big hit amongst the urban population. The rise of such dishes on menus has also been driven by the growing availability of high-quality plant-based ingredients and products, as well as the development of innovative cooking techniques and flavour profiles that make plant-based dishes more appealing to a wider audience.
Restaurants too are doing their own bit in terms of choosing to include premium-quality food ingredients like soy, pea protein, and others that closely mimic the taste and texture of meat for an overall enhanced eating experience. The use of state-of-the-art technological practices such as 'extrusion' can help in completely replicating the texture of ground meat to plant-based meat products.
Another innovative way in which restaurants are putting out plant-based meat products on menus is by devising new dishes that feature key vegan ingredients. An example of that could be restaurants teaming up with various plant-based meat companies to create exclusive dishes like burgers using a certain brand of mock meat.
To conclude, restaurants are finding newer and more creative ways to use plant-based meat on their menus to cater to the growing demand for vegetarian and vegan options. By offering plant-based meat dishes, restaurants can attract new customers, cater to existing ones, and appeal to those who are looking to reduce their meat consumption. Furthermore, offering plant-based menu items can help to differentiate a restaurant from its competitors and create a more unique dining experience.