Alternative Meat Market in India

According to the Good Food Institute, about 63% of the Indians are likely to purchase Alternative Meat regularly. Plant-based meat in India is an emerging trend predominantly in the Full Service Restaurants (FSR).

At present, the market size of meat based on plants in India is very small, but in urban cities it is increasing at a faster pace. Many start-ups have entered the plant-based meat market in the past few years, selling through food service channels and online retail in India.

  • Definition / Scope
  • Market Overview
  • Market Risks
  • Market Drivers
  • Market Restraints
  • Industry Challenges
  • Technology Trends
  • Other Key Market Trends
  • Market Size and Forecast
  • Market Outlook
  • Technology Roadmap
  • Competitive Landscape
  • Competitive Factors
  • Key Market Players
  • Strategic Conclusion
  • References

Definition / Scope

Meat replacement, also referred to as meat analog, is a safe meat substitute that is similar in chemical and esthetic characteristics such as meat appearance, taste, flavor, and texture.

Meat alternatives are sometimes referred to as analog meat, mock meat, faux meat or imitation meat. Due to the growing prevalence of animal diseases, the global scarcity of animal proteins and the increasing demand for religious food, the use of vegetable proteins in food products has been increasing. Usually, meat substitutes mimic certain cosmetic features, such as chemical characteristics of particular meat types.

Owing to their similarity to beef, they are mostly used in meat-like dishes. Various analogs include soy-based or gluten-based (e.g. tofu, tempeh), but can now also be made from pea protein and even Mycoprotein-like ingredients.

Because of its meaty texture, appearance and taste that is imparted during the processing of meat replacements, consumers are completely satisfied after consuming meat analogs. Vegetables that are rich in protein and also by adopting meat substitutes will fulfill the supplement of the protein in vegetarian diet by meat like substances.

The key purpose of meat substitutes is to replace the meat in the die and the meat substitute market does not include vegetarians but also non-vegetarians who aim to minimize their meat intake.

The nutritional value of meat is due to the biological values of basic nutrients such as vitamins, proteins and fats, but from a health point of view, excessive meat consumption should not be recommended by experts, so nutrients are applied to the meat substitutes in an acceptable quantity. thus, in appropriate amount nutrients are added in the meat substitutes.

By Product

  • Tofu-based
  • Tempeh-based
  • TVP-based
  • Seitan-based
  • Quorn-based
  • Others

By Source

  • Soy-based
  • Wheat-based
  • Mycoprotein
  • Others

By Category

  • Frozen
  • Refrigerated
  • Shelf Stable

Market Overview

In 2020, the Indian Alternative Meat market was estimated at US$ 360 million, which is projected to hit US$ 634.4 million by 2025, with a 12% CAGR (2020-2025).

The primary drivers for the plant-based meat market have remained the increased number of vegans, the advancement of technology, growing health issues related to cholesterol and sustainability. Around 63 per cent of Indians are likely to buy plant-based meat regularly, according to the Good Food Institute.

Another main factor behind the shift of customers to plant-based meat is the heavy use of antibiotics on livestock. In India, however, plant-based meat is an emerging trend in the food service channel, mainly (FSR).

At present, the market size of alternative meat in India is very small, but in urban cities it is increasing at a faster pace. In recent years, many start-ups, including Ahimsa Food, Vegeta Gold, Vezlay, GoodDot Enterprises, Vegitein and The Vegan Eatery, have entered the plant-based meat market through food service channels and online retail in India.

These businesses also offer their goods via e-commerce platforms. In the production of alternative meat products, leading ingredient players such as ADM are also assisting new entrants in the Indian industry. ADM recently collaborated with Imagine Meats to deliver meat products based on plants.

In India, in Ready to Cook form, plant-based meat is available at a reasonable price range of INR 200 per 200g pack, half the price of US plant-based meat. However, based on the price of commodities, the price difference in India between traditional sources of meat such as chicken, mutton and meat based on plants is only INR 30/kg.

The main plant-based ingredients mix used by these companies to achieve mutton, chicken and fish-like texture is soy, textured vegetable proteins (TVP), isolated soy proteins, pea protein, and mushroom. Companies are recently discovering new sources of plant meat such as jackfruit that, compared to soy, pea, is not rich in protein content, but has a demanding texture such as pork meat.

Wraps, fried mock chicken, mock meat spring roll, meals, starters, burgers, kebab, quest kebab, nuggets, hot dog, salami, sausages, meat strips, Keema Pav, Nawabi, etc. are various products offered by these companies through FSR. Indian companies do not seek to replace beef, which is not India’s choice of meat, but to replace chicken, fish and pork. Chicken, accompanied by buffalo meat and mutton, accounts for half of the Indian meat market.

The growth rate of chicken, mutton and fish consumption is high in India. India’s rise in livestock farming would significantly increase India’s GHG emissions and make water shortage worse. In 2016, India made up 6.55 percent of worldwide GHG emissions.

Animal farming accounts for nearly three quarters of Indian agriculture. There is a good potential for meat substitutes to minimize GHGs. Vegan diets typically minimize carbon emissions by 70 percent, while the non-vegetarian diet adds +135 percent to emissions.

The recent Covid-19 pandemic had an effect on the food industry to concentrate on manufacturing a product that is sustainable and without any negative public health impact. Plant-based meat may be a healthy way of resolving food safety issues, reducing concerns about rising GHG intake and increasing the consumption of protein using locally grown ingredients.

Market Risks

The major risk posing as threat to the growth of the Alternative Meat Market in India are

Fragmented Market

The Alternative Meat Market in India is highly fragmented with lots of companies entering into the business ranging from larger established companies to startups.

The market has lower barrier for entry as it involves lower investment. There exist a large number of local players in the market and they offer products to the local markets at a much lower price when compared to the organized international players. The factors leading to the fragmentation of the Alternative Meat Market in India are no economies of scale and strong competition in the market.

Top Market Opportunities

The top opportunities for SMEs and Startups in the Alternative Meat Market in India are

Expected Rise in Demand for Meat Substitute in Future

According to the Weforum by 2050, the world’s food systems would have to fulfill the nutritional demands of 10 billion people, who will also be richer than people today.

The need for meat for this humongous global population will be unthinkable, and all the more so because the inhabitants of India have a heavy meat diet. This would greatly push the need for meat replacements in order to satisfy the rising demand for meat nutritional supplements.

It is a major factor that will contribute to a booming market for meat alternatives that will see a multitude of giants of food and beverages and emerging players joining the meat-free food industry.

Favorable marketing and correct positioning

Through embracing marketing techniques such as diversification and segmentation, the sales of plant-based meat can be increased. It aims to generate more market demand, such as health-conscious consumers, vegetarians, flexitarians, and vegans. In addition, putting the product in the right place through the right distribution channel is essential.

In order to retain the market and boost their profits, businesses must concentrate on this criterion. By expanding their client relationships and extending their scope internationally, they need to position themselves. Appropriate labeling will speed up market growth further. The labeling criteria is fairly emphasized by the Indian Alternative Meat markets., contributing to market growth.

Market Drivers

The Key factors driving the growth of the Alternative Meat Market in India are

Robust Popularity of Veganism in India

India has a reputation as having been a predominantly vegetarian society since time immemorial (not entirely accurate). Another important factor driving India’s Alternative Meat Market is the steady decline in meat consumption as multiple studies connect red processed meat overconsumption to a variety of non-communicable diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, liver disease, lung disease, and kidney disease.

The demand for meat alternatives has also seen success among ‘flexitarian’ customers who still consume meat and dairy but aim to lower animal meat levels. Because of ethical, environmental and health concerns some consumers are also attracted to plant-based meat products.

Millennial Mindset Leading to Meat-Free Movement

In many industries, the millennial generation is bringing a trend and the food and beverage market is no different, and as a repercussion of this shift, Forbes documented in March 2018 that 70 percent of the world population is either reducing or fully shunning meat consumption. This is partially due to quick access to health-related data on digital channels that have become an integral part of millennials’ lives.

On the Internet, there are a multitude of compelling articles and videos intended to raise awareness of the environmental effects of meat and why meat alternatives are relevant in the contemporary world. This brings about a seismic change in the attitude of people who shift to plant-based proteins, and that has a catapulting impact on the revenues of the meat substitute market.

The increasing concern for food security is another significant rationale in support of meat substitutes – the global population is expected to reach 9.8 billion by 2050 and supporting such an immense animal-meat population is simply not feasible because meat production is highly resource-intensive and has a severe environmental impact.

Roughly 15 percent of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions come from the processing of livestock. The livestock industry is the world’s single greatest cause of habitat destruction. In addition, in factory farming, 73 percent of all antibiotics are used, which can have significant consequences in the form of drug-resistant superbugs.

As a result, plant-based meat substitutes are emerging as a sustainable consumer choice that not only concerns food security, but also ensures food safety. Companies working in the meat substitute sector are carrying out stringent monitoring and controls on the manufacturing and processing of these new items.

Rising health concerns due to increasing obesity levels

While meat consumption has its advantages, such as higher protein intake, higher energy levels and various other benefits; one of the key issues with their intake is the detrimental effects it has on people’s weight, contributing ultimately to higher population obesity incidences.

This growing incidence of obesity is expected to be a major factor in the growth of meat substitutes as they are a healthy alternative to meats that offer comparable benefits with decreased customer obesity chances.

Market Restraints

The Primary Factors hindering the growth of the Alternative Meat Market in India are

High processing cost

Compared to natural meat, the high manufacturing costs involved in the development of meat alternatives have led to high prices for meat substitute products, such as tofu, tempeh and other protein alternatives, and this is expected to hinder market growth, especially in countries such as India.

Higher price of products in comparison to traditional meat

One of the key limiting factors in the demand for plant-based meat is price. Compared to animal-based meat, plant-based meat is uneconomical, which is likely to affect its development in price-sensitive markets such as India, China, and South Africa. As their high price over traditional meat hinders the rapidly rising plant-based industry, companies offering plant-based meat alternatives are attempting to lower prices.

Meat based on plants is more costly than normal meat. As a result of trade barriers, disturbances in the supply of raw materials and inadequate distribution networks due to COVID-19, prices of plant-based meat products are further expected to increase.

Non-availability and high raw material prices and high production costs are likely to hamper the growth of the global demand for plant-based meat. Because of the economic downturn in different countries due to the coronavirus outbreak, plant-based meat demand growth is grappling further.

Industry Challenges

The major challenges faced by the Players in the Alternative Meat Market in India are

Perception regarding the taste of plant-based meat products

Similar to animal meat, plant-based meat products provide nutritional benefits. In terms of texture, color, flavor, and taste, manufacturers are trying to make meat substitutes similar to meat. Most customers, however, are dissatisfied by the taste and variety of substitutes for meat.

Consumers have a belief that if they opt for meat alternatives, there is a major compromise in taste. The off-flavor of soy protein, for example, makes it undesirable for consumption. Compounds, such as aldehydes, ketones, furans, and alcohols, cause the off-flavor.

Among the main reasons for the beany and grassy flavor of soy products are medium-chain aldehydes. However, the high nutritional value of soy has led to its demand.

In addition, consumers believe that meat replacements are either too gummy or too chewy. This has led producers of meat substitutes to deliver revolutionary products, such as an increase in flesh density, primarily soy protein and wheat gluten, in order to enhance the texture of their meat substitutes, closely mimicking meat chewiness.

Cultural barriers

Asia’s plant-based meat market may be constrained by issues of perception that have been created. For instance, in India, mock meat or vegetarian meat was previously mainly consumed by followers of Hindus, Jains and Sikhs. It was never pushed past a relatively simple level to mimic the taste and texture of meat, adding that these conventional goods serve a particular role and “their appeal is seen as limited” to some classes.

The sector must continue to break free of its association with conventional mock meats, which are supposed to be sold at a low price point and bear historical image baggage, in order for plant-based meats to meet their full market potential in India.

Technology Trends

The emergence of Disruptive technologies has significantly influenced the growth of the Alternative Meat Market in India, some of the key technologies shaping the emergence of Alternative Meat Market in India are

Cultured meat

The edible meat produced by extracting cells from living organisms and then proliferating them with cell engineering refers to in vitro meat. This method is a component of cellular farming that obtains meat without going through the livestock raising process. Often called cultured meat, sterile meat, in vitro meat, and lab-grown meat, the term varies.

The method of processing cultured meat begins with the removal of a small piece of tissue from living organisms, which is performed under anesthesia using a small biopsy. It is possible to grow skeletal muscle cells from satellite cells via the proliferation and differentiation phase.

Pricing Trends

The Price of Alternative Meat depends on several factors such as the mock meat type, quality, taste, nutritional value and brand.

The price of some of the popular Ready-to-Cook alternative meat products in India are as in the table below

Veg Meat (200 Grams)VezlayINR 130 / US$ 1.8
Soya Vegget (200 Grams)VezlayINR 990 / US$ 13.7
Vegan Meat (300 Grams)Urban PlatterINR 300 / US$ 4.15
Veg Bhurji (320 Grams)PlantMadeINR 250 / US$ 3.46
Vegan Vienna Hotdog (1 KG)Veggie ChampINR 680 / US$ 9.41

Other Key Market Trends

Impact of COVID-19 on the Alternative Meat Market in India

As the consumption of animal-based meat has been dwindling across many developing nations of the world, the pandemic situation has pushed the trend even higher as more and more customers turn towards vegan and animal-free diets to achieve better health columns during the situation of COVID-19.

This is thus seen by market competitors as an incentive to develop and have a competitive advantage. For example, Beyond Meat recently announced its launch of Beyond Breakfast Sausage with 11 g of protein per serving with 50 percent less total fat, 35 percent less saturated fat and sodium and 33 percent less calories than a leading brand of pork sausage patties, and is manufactured without GMOs, soy, gluten or artificially produced ingredients.

Mainstream popularity has benefited from the new wave of high-protein, meat-like alternatives, especially among those who have historically been more inclined to eat meat primarily. For higher-priced meat alternatives, however, development may slow as budgets tighten in the midst of a looming recession.

Market Size and Forecast

The Market Size of the Alternative Meat Market in India is estimated to be worth US$ 360 Million in 2020 and is poised to grow at a CAGR of 12% from 2020 to 2025 to reach a market size of US$ 634.4 Million in 2025.

At present, the market size of alternative meat in India is very small, but in urban cities it is increasing at a faster pace. In recent years, many start-ups, including Ahimsa Food, Vegeta Gold, Vezlay, GoodDot Enterprises, Vegitein and The Vegan Eatery, have entered the plant-based meat market through food service channels and online retail in India. These businesses also offer their goods via e-commerce platforms.

In India, in Ready to Cook form, plant-based meat is available at a reasonable price range of INR 200 per 200g pack, half the price of US plant-based meat. However, based on the price of commodities, the price difference in India between traditional sources of meat such as chicken, mutton and meat based on plants is only INR 30/kg.

Market Outlook

The outlook for the Alternative Meat Market is positive with the driving factors being increasing veganism, health consciousness and the flexitarian mindset of the Millennials. The Alternative Meat market has gained substantial growth due to the health benefits of meat substitutes and increased preference for vegetarian foods.

A rise in the occurrence of health disorders and consumer perception of fitness is also expected to drive the growth of the meat substitute industry. In addition, businesses are innovating and creating product lines for meat substitutes due to the growing degree of consumer acceptance of meat substitutes.

However, the lack of good taste is hindering the global meat substitute market compared to natural meat products. In addition, the increasing organized meat substitute retail sector is expected to provide strong market growth opportunities in the future.

Technology Roadmap

The Alternative Meat Market in India is still a very young market with a tremendous potential for growth, owing to the widespread accessibility of consumers, the potential for technological growth and the availability of an ever-increasing customer base.

As a result of their preference to lead a healthy lifestyle, the bulk of the population changes their tastes from meat intake to meat substitutes. This means that their products will be generally adopted due to advances in the product range and solutions for market participants, as the currently available product range is very small.

Distribution Chain Analysis

The Various Distribution Channels through which the Alternative Meat is sold in India include

  • Convenience store
  • Modern store
  • Specialty store
  • E-retailers
  • Food stores
  • Others

The Value Chain of the Alternative Meat Market in India is as in the below figure

Competitive Landscape

The meat substitute market is highly fragmented in nature with the presence of many small and medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the market.

Some of the key vendors operating in the Alternative Meat market in India are Sonic Biochem Limited, ADM Agro Industries India Private Limited, DuPont India, Roquette India Private Limited, Kerry Ingredients India Private Limited, Axiom ingredients and health foods private limited, Ingredion India Private Limited, Cargill India Private Limited and others.

Competitive Factors

There is significant competition in the meat substitute industry, leading to new product releases and product diversification. In addition, food brands are channelizing their efforts to unravel new windows of opportunity towards research & development initiatives.

Manufacturers produce their own indigenous goods and their own manufacturing capacity according to regional preferences. Good partnerships with distributors have also been established by some major corporations to seek access to the markets.

Few industry leaders own cultivable land for the production of raw materials, as well as other technical capabilities. The majority of producers have their own retail stores in many regions and are therefore in a position to successfully enter the markets.

Key Market Players

Some of the Key players in the Alternative Meat Market in India are

Sonic Biochem Extractions Pvt. Ltd., India is the global leader in manufacturing Non-GMO Soya & Sunflower ingredients for processed food, processed meat, nutraceuticals,health-care, feed & cosmetic products. The Company is also involved in contract manufacturing to produce tailor-made food ingredients according to the requirements of their clients.

ADM Agro Industries India Private Limited, is majorly in Agriculture and Allied Activities business. The Company was founded in 2009. The company’s line of business includes the manufacturing of shortening, table oils, margarine, and other edible fats and oils.

EI DuPont India Pvt. Ltd. manufactures industrial and home materials products. The Company offers polymers, crop protection products, bottles, jars, caps, films, wraps, refinish paints, seeds, filaments, and non-stick coatings. EI DuPont India serves customers worldwide

Cargill India Private Limited started operations in 1987. It has businesses in refined oils, food products, grain and oilseeds, cotton, animal feed, agricultural specialties, and organized trade financing. Cargill markets hydrogenated fats with leading consumer brands of edible oils such as Nature New, Gemini, Sweekar, Leonardo Olive Oil, Rath and Sunflower.

It markets wheat flour under the brand name Nature Fresh as well. Cargill’s Animal Nutrition company offers aqua, dairy and poultry with animal feed and Premix and nutrition. With brands such as Provimi, Purina, Citura and Cargill, it markets animal feed and premix. The Grains and Oilseed company manufactures grains and oilseeds at 200 storage locations.

Roquette India Private Limited was incorporated on 25 August, 2010 and is located in Mumbai City, Maharashtra. It is classified as a private limited company. The company is a manufacturer of starch and starch derivatives and high-maltose corn syrup, and dextrose.

Kerry Ingredients India Private Limited is the prominent Manufacturer, Exporter and Supplier of superb quality Lactose, Film Coatings, Hydroxypropyl Methyl Cellulose – HPMC, Excipients, Casein Hydrolysates Peptones, Defined Supplements, Emulsifier Products, Essential Oils, Lactalbumin Hydrolysates, Meat Hydrolysates Peptones, Meat Hydrolysates Peptones Ultra Filtered, Minimally Hydrolysed Proteins, Non-Animal Hydrolysates Peptones Ultra Filtered, Non-Animal Hydrolysates Peptone Yeast Extracts, Supplement System Products and Yeast Extracts.

Ingredion India Private Limited was established in 2010, Ingredion India is a leading global ingredients solutions company. The company makes sweeteners, starches, nutrition ingredients and biomaterials that are used by customers in everyday products from foods and beverages to paper and pharmaceuticals.

Strategic Conclusion

It can be concluded that there is a strong demand in existing and future markets for Alternative Meat in India. The most important interest in this product was not due to the rise in the number of vegan customers, but it was motivated by consumers who were concerned about healthier foods and a sustainable climate.

Nevertheless, there are still few meat analogs in the current market and only plant-based meat is mostly available. For example, cultivated meat, still not marketed, is not a simple assignment because of the production itself. Research and development took many years to ensure a product equal to traditional beef.


Further Reading


  • SMEs – Small & Medium Enterprises
  • R&D – Research & Development
  • US$ – US Dollar
  • INR – Indian National Rupees

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