There is a “noticeable increase” in the adoption of plant-based eating habits in India, according to a report released at the second Plant-Based Foods Summit organised here on Thursday by Plant Based Foods Industry Association (PBFIA). The report said a number of factors such as increasing awareness of the ethical and environmental implications of animal agriculture and growing availability and affordability of plant-based food products drive this rise.
The report cites a survey conducted by Renub Research in collaboration with PBFIA, which said over 67% of the respondents consumed plant-based food products due to concerns about animal welfare in food production. “Furthermore, 54.1% did so for positive environmental impact and since plant-based foods mimicked the taste of animal-based foods. A significant number of respondents (48.6%) reported choosing plant-based food products because they believed that it could lower the risk of chronic diseases and food allergies. A small number of respondents (8.1%) reported choosing plant-based food products because they believed that it was trendy,” the report said adding that plant-based diets have become increasingly popular in recent years, with celebrities and influencers often promoting them.
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The survey said 8.1% of people have not yet considered consuming plant-based foods. The report said Indian consumers are often price-sensitive and many plant-based alternatives are perceived as expensive compared to traditional food options. Along with that, limited distribution channels, especially in smaller cities and rural areas is also making it difficult for consumers to access plant-based products. “Inadequate infrastructure and underdeveloped supply chains may affect the quality and availability of raw materials, as well as the production and distribution of plant-based food products,” the report said.
It added that international players entering the Indian market may offer plant-based products at competitive prices or with more advanced technologies, posing a threat to local businesses. “Climate change and related environmental challenges, such as droughts, floods, and land degradation, can impact the availability and quality of raw materials for plant-based foods,” it said.
The report added that plant-based diets have the potential to positively impact health, environment, and animal welfare. “By adopting plant-based diets, individuals can lower their risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, and cancer,” it claimed. “Additionally, these diets contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving water quality, promoting environmental sustainability. The shift towards plant-based options signifies a broader recognition of the benefits associated with this dietary choice, paving the way for a healthier and more sustainable future,” the report said.
It added that while plant-based milk market share has grown by 16% to 20% in the country, plant-based cheese and butter market share increased by 14% to 16%. “Plant-based ice cream and yoghurt market share gained 12%-15% and 15%-17% respectively,” it said.
The market share of plant-based burger patties, sausages, and tofu has witnessed significant growth. The market share for plant-based burger patties increased from 17% to 18%, nuggets and strips from 14% to 17%, keema from 14% to 17% and protein powders from 14% to 17%, the report said.