India stands out as a promising market for plant-based growth20 Jan 2022
Irish ingredients company Kerry identified India as a particularly high-growth market for plant-based proteins. Thanks to the fact that one-third of India’s population identifies as vegetarian while the remaining 70% regularly eat meals without meat, the market is ripe for alternative protein companies to offer vegetarian alternatives.
“The opportunity and potential for plant protein foods in India is promising. Currently, the region’s alternative meat market is valued at $171 million, and is expected to grow at 8.5% CAGR by 2025,” Kerry's Marketing Director for Southwest Asia Gunjan Pandey said in a statement.
While the majority of Indians consume animal protein, there is still a concerted interest in flexitarianism —a semi-vegetarian eating pattern —from the general population due to the desire for a varied diet, personal health and an increasing recognition of the importance of sustainable food systems, Pandey explained. These top three drivers are the foundation supporting the market reality that 41% of the country’s population consumes six or more types of plant protein, according to Kerry.
Due to a historical acceptance of animal protein alternatives in Indian diets, the Kerry study showed that 63% of consumers would be willing to regularly purchase plant-based protein while a full 60% would pay a premium for these alternative ingredients. Such a position of public opinion has made the Indian market ripe for innovation.
“The past five years have also seen consistent new launches with the number of meat substitute launches rising year-on-year,” Pandey said in a statement.
Despite this bright outlook, hurdles remain in front of companies looking to have consumers adopt alternative proteins into their diets. “Seventy percent of consumers in Asia Pacific saying that taste and texture of current meat alternatives do not match that of real meat, but add they would make plant-based foods a regular part of their diet if this were resolved,” Ronan Moloney, VP of Food and Meat in Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa said a statement.
This is not the first time Kerry has identified taste and texture as two major roadblocks for consumer adoption of plant-based protein. However, even though these challenges have not yet abated, the demand for plant-based proteins continues to grow. Globally, the market for alternative meat is expected to grow 14% compounded annually to reach $9.5 billion by 2023, and Asia currently represents 22% of that demand. While the region is currently the second largest globally, experts anticipate it will become the world’s largest market for plant-based protein by 2025, Kerry found in an earlier report.
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