Big FMCG companies are entering the plant-based meat segment, targeting non-vegetarian consumers who are looking for an animal-protein replacement, besides a large section of vegetarians.
The segment which opened up two years back is estimated to touch around USD one billion by 2030 and now products in the plant-sourced meat segment are available at e-commerce platforms and large retail chains in leading metros.
Besides, players are also targeting institutional clients in the HoReCa (hotel, restaurant and catering) segment and several Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) chains such as Domino's and Starbucks in India have included plant-based protein in their food menus.
Last week, Tata Consumer Product Ltd (TCPL) announced its entry into the plant-based meat products category, under a new brand ''Tata Simply Better'' and introduced four variants - Nuggets, Burger Patty, Awadhi Seekh Kebab and Spicy Finger.
According to the Tata group FMCG arm, plant-based meats are at the forefront of the broader plant protein landscape, aimed at replicating the sensory and cultural resonance of animal-derived meat, but without the associated implications to the environment and health.
ITC had entered the segment earlier this year and according to Edelweiss Financial Services Executive Director Abneesh Roy, over the long-term more FMCG companies would enter the segment.
Delhi: SDMC asks officials to ensure closure of meat shops during Navaratri
Several meat shops in south Delhi closed as owners fear SDMC action
Larsen and Toubro spends Rs 150 crore on CSR activities in FY21
Mahua Moitra slams the move to ban meat during Navratri in Parliament
Conspiracy theories, misinformation swirl around Texas school shooting
Sachet subscription for Rs 10/movie on Netflix not very far: PayNearby MD
Sun Pharma, Glenmark recall products in US due to manufacturing issues
Expect 60% of sales to accrue from pure-electric variants, says Jaguar
Airtel chief Sunil Mittal's remuneration falls 5% to Rs 15.39 cr in FY22
Sterlite Power to enter renewable biz with undisclosed investment amount
In this plant-based meat alternative, several startups such as Shaka Harry and Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma-funded Blue Tribe etc have entered.
"I think Nestle, HUL, Marico can evaluate whether to enter over the next five years if this category becomes large," said Roy.
ITC has launched sustainable plant-based protein products for consumers under its ITC Master Chef IncrEdible brand across two varieties - the Incredible' Burger Patties and Incredible' Nuggets.
"The product has been rolled out across e-commerce channels and large retail chains in eight cities as of now as well as to institutional customers," said ITC Vice President and Business Head, Frozen and Fresh Food Ashu Phakey.
ITC has a first mover advantage in the Plant-based meat segment, he added.
Tata Consumer Products President - Packaged Foods (India) Deepika Bhan said: "With growing health and sustainability consciousness among consumers and increased exposure to global food trends, we think there is significant opportunity for brands like us to innovate with plant proteins."
Blue Tribe CCO Sohil Wazir said the plant-based meat market was almost non-existent two years back and in 2021 several brands ventured into this space. "In these two years, consumer awareness levels also went up with younger generations of Millennials, Gen Z and Gen Alpha making an irreversible shift towards conscious consumerism."
Wazir further said "looking at the growing trend of plant-based meat, Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma who are also both plant-forward in their lifestyle made them the perfect ambassadors and investors for Blue Tribe," he said
According to Wazir, there is a lot more headroom and "conservatively, we hope that the category will be USD one billion by 2030 in India".
"We plan to expand our portfolio of products to provide non-vegetarians with a variety of use cases to replace meat in their lifestyles and we are also looking at the export market, especially in countries with a large Indian diaspora," he said.
Anand Nagarajan, Co-founder, of Shaka Harry said: "Plant protein is an emerging food platform."
"In short, the industry has gone from less than a handful of brands to now more than a dozen new players ranging from start-ups to the largest food conglomerates.
"This is a good thing for the segment to get consumer attention. While plant-based meat products are relatively new we are all still in the consumer food space. Growth and scale there is driven by having products that perform on taste, are priced for value and widely available," said Nagarajan.
Plant protein will make its mark across multi-billion dollar categories like biryani, momos or RTE / RTC.
"This space will see a Rs 100 cr domestic revenue brand in as early as the next 2-3 years. Shaka Harry with its superior taste profile will emerge as India's favourite plant protein brand," he said.