INDIA- Tata Starbucks, a joint venture company that owns and operates Starbucks outlets in India, has signed a deal with a plant-based food company Imagine Meats to sell vegan food in its Indian outlets.
The deal will see, Starbucks India, source vegan sausage croissant rolls, vegan hummus kebab wraps, and vegan croissant buns from Imagine Meats company and sell them in Mumbai, Delhi, and Hyderabad.
It will also extend to Bengaluru, Kolkata, Gurugram, Goa, Noida, Pune, and Jaipur to cater to the taste buds of the Indian vegan population with a preference for plant-based meat.
Imagine Meats has for the last six months been working on expanding its range of plant-based meats suited and aims to expand its presence in 25-30 Indian cities by the end of the fiscal.
Accordingly, Imagine Foods, which is promoted by Bollywood actor couple Riteish and Genelia Deshmukh, also partnered with US agri-business major ADM to offer plant-based meat versions of biryani, kebabs, and curries to India’s consumers.
These are two major steps the company has taken since the launch and commercialization of its products through Nature’s Basket and Reliance Retail outlets in Mumbai; and online through its direct-to-consumer website.
Imagine Meats offers nine variants of ready-to-prepare meats, including keema, seekh kebabs, biryani dishes, nuggets, and sausages via plant-based varieties sans real meat.
Additionally, the company said its protein-based products are made with no cholesterol, no animal hormones, or antibiotics, hence being safe for a vegan lifestyle.
Imagine Meats noted that its plant-based meats are produced directly from plants or crop ingredients such as soy protein, pea protein, and sunflower oil.
The market in India is in its very early stages but is seeing an exponential expansion, attracting foreign and local investment in that market.
According to Carmen Bryan, a consumer analyst at GlobalData, the meat substitutes market in India generated retail sales of US$220.8m in 2020 and is expected to reach US$292.9 million by 2025, clocking a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.8%.
A number of domestic specialists and celebrities have carved out a foothold, making the market look even tastier than before.
Cricketer Virat Kohli and his wife Anushka Sharma announced that they will invest in Blue Tribe Foods – another startup in this space while Olympic Gold medal winner Neeraj Chopra is also associated with a plant-based meat brand called Good Dot.
Although investors and entrepreneurs are optimistic about the sector’s potential growth, there are some limiting factors being experienced.
Sathguru Management Consultants, Manyam stated that the lack of skilled technical manpower in India, particularly in the chemistry and processing of food proteins, is, for the time being, a “limiting factor” for growth.
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