The Good Food Institute India unveils insights on India's smart protein sector

A glimpse into awareness, trial, and repeat purchase behavior of plant-based alternatives
The Good Food Institute India unveils insights on India's smart protein sector
Photo - mrsiraphol on Freepik

The Good Food Institute India (GFI India), the central expert organization, thought leader, and convening body in the alternative protein sector, in collaboration with Kantar World Panel, unveiled a new study on consumer awareness, trial, and purchase behavior for plant-based meat and dairy today. Coinciding with the global phenomenon of Veganuary, which inspires millions to try plant-based diets every January, the report sheds light on the evolving landscape of consumer adoption of plant-based alternatives to meat and dairy. With 377 products spanning 41 formats and 73 brands, the sector has witnessed rapid growth over the past few years, presenting consumers with an array of choices in plant-based meat, dairy, and egg categories.

The study reveals that while familiarity with plant-based meat and dairy is growing, with about 30% of respondents aware of plant-based meat and 50% of plant-based dairy, the trial rates stand at 11% and 23%, respectively. However, the category exhibited strong potential for market growth, as evidenced by the high repeat purchase intentions, with 72% considering buying plant-based meat again and 82% willing to purchase plant-based dairy again. Notably, in line with global trends of environmentally conscious behavior, the report identifies a higher level of awareness and adoption interest among younger demographics, particularly in metropolitan areas and among non-vegetarians (flexitarians), compared to vegetarians and those in non-metro cities.

Interestingly, according to the report, consumption patterns reveal that plant-based options are currently consumed similarly to their animal-derived counterparts. However, the latter is consumed more regularly, with plant-based options reserved for special occasions. The study also states that taste remains a significant driver for conventional meat consumption, highlighting the need to further improve the taste of plant-based meat. Key barriers to wider adoption include taste, accessibility (affordability and availability), and perceptions of plant-based foods. This nuanced understanding of consumer behavior is crucial for stakeholders in the smart protein sector to strategize and cater to the evolving market effectively.

Rajyalakshmi G, market and consumer insights advisor at The Good Food Institute India, commented, "Our study with Kantar World Panel reveals key factors driving the growth of India's smart protein sector. It highlights the importance of building category awareness and relevance for plant-based alternatives among consumers. To encourage trial and repeat purchases, it is crucial for manufacturers to focus on the trifecta of taste, affordability, and convenience. Like any new category, initiatives, including sampling, online campaigns, social media engagement, and strategic retail displays, can contribute significantly to greater awareness and broader adoption. Our goal is to empower manufacturers and industry players with essential consumer insights that can drive the advancement of the sector in India.”

The rising interest in global consumer-focused movements like Veganuary highlights the importance of alternative proteins to enhance participation by a wider cohort of consumers. A shift from conventional proteins to more plant-based meat, dairy, and egg alternatives will be crucial for growing economies like India in addressing global challenges such as climate change, food insecurity, and public health.

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