The Vegan Renaissance: A Deep Dive into the Global Appetite for Plant-Based Foods

  • Published | 18 January 2024

The world is going green, and not just in terms of environmental consciousness. Veganism, the lifestyle of abstaining from all animal products, is experiencing a surge in popularity across the globe. This plant-based revolution is driven by a multitude of factors, from ethical concerns about animal welfare to the growing awareness of the environmental impact of animal agriculture.

History: The word ‘vegan’ was introduced in the year 1944 by a person called Donald Watson from the UK who along with Elsie Shrigley and three of his friends established a society in London to promote non-dairy vegetarianism. Later, it was popularized as ‘The Vegan Society’. Supported by powerful ethical principles and an agenda to alleviate animal torment, the vegan movement swept everywhere — spreading rapidly to India. Someone who has embraced veganism does not eat or use any products made from animals. Food habits include the avoidance of animal products such as dairy products, eggs, honey meat, and gelatin. Further, veganism does not have animal-derived materials such as leather, wool, fur silk, and personal care products tested on animals. This has moved vegan beyond food to see various fashion and beauty brands provide vegan alternatives.

A vegetarian diet is defined as one that does not contain any meat or seafood. Nevertheless, there are a lot of variations on this – some vegetarians may eat eggs and dairy products while the others avoid one or both.

What are the different types of Plant-based Foods:

  • Processed plant-based Foods: Processed plant-based foods include vegan chicken nuggets, vegan mutton kebabs, plant-based cheese, plant-based ghee alternatives, etc., which have been made available because of the advancing food technology and machinery and manufacturing processes that help mimic textures and colors of non-vegetarian products. While health-conscious consumers may have issues with certain categories of processed plant-based products, they can be made nutritional and tasty by using cleaner ingredients in less saturated fats containing minimized to no cholesterol. Brazil was the first country in the world to publish dietary guidelines based on processing levels, and it formed NOVA (Portuguese for ‘new’) in 2014. Minimally processed foods were also separated from processed food and ultra-processed food.

  • Whole plant-based Foods: A whole-food plant-based (WFPB) diet is an eating regimen that largely involves unprocessed or minimally processed vegan foods. The purpose of a WFPB diet is to maximize nutrient-rich plant foods and these include vegetables, fruits, beans, peas lentils soybeans seeds nuts, and whole forms like wheat.

Consumer Insights and Behaviour:

The plant-based food category is the fastest growing in most supermarkets and the industry has a record-breaking year. The interest in the topic of veganism has skyrocketed in 2019, as per statistics by Google Trends. Secondly, consumers globally are also starting to pay greater attention to the health benefits of vegetarian diets, especially post-pandemic. Consumers in India are also beginning to adopt Western ideas such as salami, hotdogs, and cold cuts together with indigenous notions such as jackfruit meat and coconut milk. A recent survey by GFI reveals that 77 % of Indian consumers are ready to consume meat substitute products and the early adopter market shows a high level of positive attitude. After launching their first products in 2015, this marks an upward trend. However, there are plenty of chances to improve the manufacturing chain as the plant-based industry is an emerging field, especially in places like India. The potential in this area which developing nations like India need to start exploiting is already existent.



Key reasons for the crucial need for plant-based products:

There is an important need to lower our reliance on animal-originated products and adopt more plant-based alternatives. In India, plant-based foods play an essential role for several key reasons:

• Environmental sustainability: Compared to animal-based products, plant-based foods use fewer resources such as water and land while being more eco-friendly. Animal production is also highly resource intensive, and it is another large contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation as wells and other environmental issues.

• Health benefits: A Whole Food Plant-based food diet has high nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants and if planned properly can even prevent several disorders such as diabetes (type 2), hyperthyroidism, high blood pressure, and PCOS.

• Addresses food security: India is populous, and what traditional animal-based food sources offer to satisfy the growing needs of people is depleting fast. Since India focuses more on plant-based foods, it leads to a better food environment for all people and helps secure food provision amid population growth.

• Cultural and spiritual traditions: Plant-based foods are a common ingredient of diets in many Indian communities and their beliefs support vegetarianism and non-violence.

• Ethics: Others opt for vegetable products due to ethical reasons such as animal cruelty or minimizing wildlife environments.

Alternative proteins, or smart proteins are also known to be other food products. which can replace meat, eggs, and dairy-based on animal production with confidence. These second-generation foods seek to provide consumers and producers with an alternative to animal-sourced food by making a perfect sensory replication. It goes beyond the familiar soy-based nuggets and mock meats that have been around for a while. Based on a UN Food and Agriculture Organization report which suggests that global climate change would be slowed down if meat consumption was dramatically reduced by 14.5%, it is livestock that causes about 14.5% of human-induced Greenhouse gas emissions globally. Second, cows occupy close to 15% of the earth’s land —mostly grasslands and rangelands for grazing and around 40% of it with which they are being fed. Alternative proteins can help lower these emissions.



In January 2022, Swiggy, India’s largest ordering and delivery platform and Delivery giant announced a partnership with GoodDot to make plant-based foods easier available. In its December 2021 study, Kerry reported that India is one of the high-growth sites for plant-based nutrition, as the poll results have shown an open mind toward plant-based alternatives and a likelihood to buy them regularly.

Ways to introduce innovations to the consumer:

The plant-based milk consumer group and category are further developed and accepted than most of the other alternatives such as meats, poultry, and seafood. This is because of several factors including the quality of innovations, price parity, and product benefits. Consumer awareness about the new product category like plant-based meats would require considerable efforts for branding. In some instances, cricketers and Indian celebrities have promoted cruelty-free, sustainable, kinder innovations for D2C brands. B2B partnerships have also turned out to be effective. One of the fastest ways to place a brand in front of customers is to work with an established QSR chain or mainstream aggregators that customers are used to and love.

To begin with, in January 2022, swiggy—the largest ordering and delivery platform in India— teamed up with GoodDot to bring cruelty-free delicacies at ease for all. Second, in April last year, BVeg Foods collaborated with the leading industrial equipment manufacturer giant Bühler making it one of the first major facilities in the country as well Starbucks India partnered with Imagine Meats In June 2022 to produce a range of vegan dishes that will offered at its cafes across ten major cities.

Please Find Below Some Related Reports:

  1. Global Plant-based Food Market - Industry Trends & Forecast Report, 2029

  2. Europe Plant-based Meat Market – Industry Trends & Forecast Report, 2029

  3. Vietnam Plant-based Protein Market – Industry Trends & Forecast Report, 2029

  4. Australia Plant-based Meat Market – Industry Trends & Forecast Report, 2029

  5. Europe Plant-based Yogurt Market – Industry Trends & Forecast Report, 2029

  6. United States Plant-Based Oils Market - Industry Trends & Forecast Report 2028

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  8. Global Plant-Based Beverages Market – Market Outlook & Trends 

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