How is vegan food disrupting the Indian market?

The Go-Vegan Movement has been an integral part of Western nations owing to its numerous health and environmental benefits. However, India has also witnessed a propelling vegan food market of late, with the Asian nation expected to exhibit a CAGR of 11.32% during 2022-2027.

But, before we dive into the statistics and the on-ground scenario of the international and Indian vegan market, it is essential to understand what Vegan is exactly.

Coined for the first time in 1944, the term ‘Vegan’ has been used to describe ‘non-dairy vegetarians’ to exclude all forms of animal products/exploitation.

Over the recent years, many people across the globe have shifted to a variety of plant-based food alternatives that offer great taste and health benefits. However, a Vegan diet is one that has become increasingly popular for people wanting to adapt to a healthier lifestyle, save the environment and care for animal welfare.

The primary reasons driving the ‘Going Vegan’ movement are lifestyle awareness amongst people, technological advancements, increased lifestyle ailments and allergy conditions, climate change and the changing perception towards sustainability.

Studies show that balanced vegan diets are extremely rich in Vitamins A, C, and E, magnesium, potassium, and folate. Moreover, they offer fiber, antioxidants, and beneficial plant compounds that cater to all the vital nutrients required for a healthy lifestyle.

Currently, Europe and North America are reported to be the leading regions for plant-based food industries. Changing lifestyles, animal rights, and growing disposable incomes along with the increasing population of lactose-intolerance consumers in the region are driving the shift to vegan food.

However, while the West may be a little further, India is one nation where vegan food has started to disrupt the food market.

Similar to other countries, people in India are also looking towards innovations in the food industry with vegan foods clearly considered a healthier meat substitute. Much of this is down to the usage of antibiotics on animals for meat production and ever-increasing cholesterol / diabetes related health problems in India.

Now, while the popularity of vegan food is considerably lower than that of the West, it must be noted that it’s slowly gaining momentum.

According to a report by United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO), India currently exhibits the lowest rate of meat consumption in the world mainly due to 44 percent of its 1.3 billion population being Hindus.

Moreover, in 2020, India had around 500 million vegetarians and around five million being strict vegans.

While veganism is still in the nascent stages in India, it is expected to offer lucrative growth opportunities in the sector. In just over a decade, there has been plenty of investment and technological advancements in the plant-based proteins sector.

In India, local plant-based product companies are offering a comprehensive array of products across food, cosmetics, fashion, leather and so much more. Positively, they have been very well received by consumers who are increasingly looking to choose more healthy and environmental-friendly alternatives.

Increasing consumer demand for vegan-fast food alternatives like cheese, chocolates, muffins, biscuits, soymilk, shakes, ice cream, and other bakery items is expected to further enhance the market growth for vegan products.

With the primary focus of ‘Going Vegan’ in India being lowering cholesterol, losing weight, and ultimately changing to a better lifestyle, one only needs to look at a popular vegan product.

Recently, vegan food products have seen a surge in demand as they offer multiple health benefits and strengthen the immune system. This invariably helps consumers fight against a wide range of viral and bacterial infections, something very significant in the post-Covid era.

What’s more significant is that while vegan products in India were initially considered very expensive, things have changed for the better.

Earlier, big vegan companies in India faced big obstacles like affordability along with the recreation of the same taste in vegan alternatives. However, due to the evolution of the sector, the companies are now able to manage the economies of scale to price vegan products at a reasonable price in India.

This, along with the provision of a high-quality product that offers several health advantages, is why the vegan food market looks to have a very promising future in India.



Views expressed above are the author’s own.


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