Is India becoming fond of mock meat?

With more millennials switching to veganism, the concept of mock meat sounds promising for the food industry in India. Mock meat or plant-based meat form alternative meat options that are made from plant-based protein. They aim to replicate the taste, colour and texture of real meat while avoiding the side effects of real meat.

Various food brands in India are finding it more lucrative to offer mock meat products rather than real meat. As a result, the meat industry in India is witnessing a rapid shift towards mock meat.

An ET Play podcast by Kalpana Pathak discusses whether Indians can satisfy their pallets with mock meat in a sustainable manner. Kalpana Pathak is in conversation with Deepika Bhan, President of Packaged Foods for Tata Consumer Products (TCPL); Sohil Wazir, Chief Commercial Officer – Blue Tribe Foods and Pooja Bhargava, a Mumbai-based nutritionist.

How fast is the mock meat business unfurling in India?

Mock meat has evolved to be as delicious as real meat. Ingredients like soybean, wheat, and protein, are processed into ready-to-cook meat products like nuggets, kebabs and momos. Food companies promoting mock meat aim to satisfy the consumers with the experience of consuming real meat.

After the COVID 19 pandemic, the mock meat segment has seen exponential growth in India. Companies like Tata, ITC and quick service restaurants including KFC, Burger King and McDonald’s have started offering veggie and vegan options across the globe.

According to the Good Food Institute, the domestic market size for mock meat in India ranges between rupees 1800 to rupees 5800 crops. There are over 50 startups active in this space. Blue Tribe Foods, is an exclusive mock meat start-up that is backed by celebs like Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli. It is seeing rapid growth in revenue since the onset of the pandemic.

What led to the boom of the mock meat business in India?

The concept of plant-based meat isn’t new. It has been part of Southeast Asian food culture for centuries. Consumption of mock meat is growing popular in India for various factors. Firstly, it addresses the ethical question of whether or not we should be killing other animals for our own food.

The other issue is the long-term effect that meat consumption has on the planet and on the environment. Data says that the manufacturing of real meat greatly exploits much of our water and land resources.

However, mock meat production involves lesser land and water consumption.

Lastly, the fact that mock meat processing is devoid of any animal sacrifice is a boon for us. This may help the human population to avoid infections like avian flu and swine flu in the future. Evidently, such awareness of human health has become more relevant in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Is mock meat a sustainable food choice in India? 

Mock meat is processed using expensive technologies. However, it is definitely cheaper than real meat. Mock meat products are available at affordable prices across the globe.

However, the mock meat does have a lot of additives added to it. So, as a meat eater one has to be mindful enough.

It is not advisable to consume mock meat more than thrice a week. Thus, though mock meat may have its benefits, consuming it in moderation may be the key.

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