Taking a cue from a slew of Indian startups, top fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies in this country are now betting big on the plant-based meat segment.
At least two Indian FMCG majors -- Tata Consumer Products Limited (TCPL) and ITC -- have recently forayed into the plant-based meat segment, with an eye on vegetarians looking for an alternative to animal protein.
While TCPL is the FMCG arm of Indian salt-to-software conglomerate Tata Group, ITC is the second largest FMCG company by market capitalisation.
As part of Simply Better, the Tata Group company has recently launched four delicious plant-based meat variants -- Nuggets, Burger Patty, Awadhi Seekh Kebab and Spicy Fingers.
The product range is rich in protein, it is trans fat free and has no added preservatives, artificial colours or artificial flavours, according to a TCPL release.
"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 for the environment and health."
Similarly, ITC has recently launched two products -- Incredible' Burger Patties and Incredible' Nuggets -- under its Master Chef IncrEdible brand.
According to ITC's Vice President Froze Ashu Phakey, "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."
ITC has attributed its diversification into the plant-based meat segment to a research by GFI India earlier this year. According to GFI figures, over 60% of urban non-vegetarians prefer to eat plant-based meats regularly.
Smart protein and plant-based meats are a generational opportunity to align planetary health stewardship, public health resilience, and economic growth, according to Varun Deshpande, managing director of GFI India.
In the past two years, a number of Indian startups like Shaka Harry and Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma-funded Blue Tribe has entered the plant-based meat segment.
Experts predict the sector to generate USD one billion revenue by 2030. "Urbanites in India are increasingly looking for healthy animal protein alternatives," says Delhi-based nutritionist Dr Sobha Sharma.