Plant-based meat products considered to be meat substitutes have gained a lot of prominence. With rising awareness of climate change and animal cruelties, an increasing number of consumers are opting for the same. It gained further popularity with celebrities endorsing such products. Apt endorsements from declared vegans like Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli has only helped.
We asked two players in the space and an adman who turned vegetarian irked by cruelty to animals about the reception from consumers. What is the profile of buyers – is it meat eaters or vegetarians who are buying in? Is the category growing?
‘Just the beginning of the journey’
This is just the beginning of the journey for the plant-based meat category. We are yet to understand how consumer preferences for products in this category will evolve. But about the current scenario if you ask me, conscious consumerism has picked up. It all has spiraled up in just the last two and a half odd years with Gen Z, millennials, and Gen Alfa making a transition towards a well-balanced and ethical lifestyle, food choices, and keeping their choices guilt-free. The adoption of the plant-based meat segment is just getting stronger with consumers becoming more receptive to the category, more and more startups and leading FMCG players entering the segment, celebrities and athletes backing it and big investments coming in. In fact, in the next three to four years, we will see small niches and different versions also coming out as per consumer preferences.
An interesting thing to note in this category is that 90pc of our target audience are non-vegetarians who are trying to reduce their meat consumption. In the coming two to three years, we expect that a lot more consumers will replace a part of their meat consumption with plant-based alternatives as they become more aware of the health and climate impacts of industrial grade meat production.
We’re experiencing a doubling of our revenue every quarter, albeit at a small base. Key markets are the top tier metro cities along with cities like Dehradun and Chandigarh. The quarter on quarter growth has been 50pc and first half in 2022 (over 2021) has been 400pc. Our D2C has been performing well as well, it has contributed to 20pc of our sales in the last full quarter.
-Sohil Wazir, Chief Commercial Officer, Blue Tribe Foods
‘Customers are primarily non-vegetarian’
Consumers across India have taken very enthusiastically to our products. And these are not just folks from the metros! Some of our top performing cities also include towns like Bhubaneswar, Vishakhapatnam, Asansol, Guwahati and others, showing Bharat as a whole is ready for plant-based meats.
Our customers are primarily non-vegetarian, with only 10 to 20pc customers being vegetarian or vegan. And that approximately tracks India’s demographic split of 28pc vegetarians.
We have been seeing robust sales growth over the years, with 100pc y-o-y growth since our launch in 2017. Currently our products are available in every city and town of India, with the advantage of ambient stability, with no preservatives. In the B2B segment as well, we see growing interest, with tie ups with Domino’s, Rebel Foods (Behrouz, Faasos, Ovenstory), Samosa Party, Taj, JW Marriott and others. Further, some very interesting partnership are in the offing and will be announced soon!
-Abhishek Sinha, Co-Founder, GoodDot
‘Vegetarianism is on the rise’
Plant-based meat is increasing its footprint all over the world. I recall being quite astounded at the similarity and texture of a mock-chicken dish in London several years ago.
Now this is apparently becoming a worldwide trend. To me it means that vegetarianism is on the rise. I can’t imagine traditional vegetarians opting for mock meat. It’s the converted-to-veg folk who probably long for the taste of meat but for some reason have stopped eating it.
Personally, I stopped eating non vegetarian food because I love animals. And frankly I don’t miss it at all. If this will increase vegetarianism and therefore reduce cruel animal slaughter and a huge methane emission as well, I welcome the trend.
-Ramesh Narayan, Ad veteran, Founder – Canco Advertising