Plant-based menus in restaurants in India will expand the plant-based foods market to never-before-thought levels. There is an urgent need to bring more inclusive vegan options in restaurants keeping in mind the growing consumer awareness, openness, and rising demand for innovative and tasty plant protein options.
Sanjay Sethi, executive director, Plant Based Foods Industry Association (PBFIA) has appealed to the 1 lakh restaurants in big cities to introduce vegan menus observing the growing vegan population.
Sethi also emphasized that PBFIA will pursue the agenda via, Restaurant Associations and leading Hotel Management Institutes, the two major connections to the food services industry.
Without much effort, some of the traditional recipes only require minor alterations by excluding some dairy products, which are anyway not part of the core recipe.
According to the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), the Indian food services market was predicted to touch around 6 lakh crores by 2022-23. But with the impact of the pandemic, the growth has slowed down, which can be given a major boost with the introduction of plant-based menus.
India is a huge consumer market, and there is a huge opportunity that lies with the restaurants which will be unveiled by providing more inclusive options.
There is a growing consumer concern over climate change and the receptiveness to plant-based meat and dairy, especially by climate-conscious younger consumers. Coupled with the overall rise in the economic capacity of Indian consumers, more people are open to opting for these plant-based alternatives. With time we will see a massive scale-up of the industry making these products more affordable to the masses regularly.
Another major reason for the rise in demand for plant-based foods is due to the perceived health benefits of the same over animal-based proteins, including the growing concern over gut health and non-communicable diseases associated with the consumption of the latter.
Owing to the prevailing protein deficiency in over 80% of Indians, it is more appropriate to include plant protein options in restaurants and ultimately tap into this unnoticed consumer need.