Following the popular global trend, FMCG major ITC has announced that it will be launching a slew of plant-based meat products in view of the rising demand for meat alternatives and growing interest in veganism in India.
With this move, ITC will be the first pan-India giant to foray into this category, which is mostly dominated by start-ups and global players currently. Top multinationals such as Nestle, Unilever, and Kellogg’s have already ventured into this rapidly expanding consumer segment.
According to the ITC spokesperson, the company will initially look at launching plant-based patties and nuggets, which mimic the taste of chicken and also happen to be the largest non-vegetarian frozen food category purchased by consumers. The new products will be available on e-commerce websites along with large retail outlets in the top eight cities of the country.
The plan is to target mostly non-vegetarians for its plant-based meat alternatives as there isn’t any large pan-Indian brand in the plant-based protein segment in the country. The company will be working with a few global partners to ensure that there is no compromise either on the product texture, quality or taste.
In this manner, the company hopes to snag the early mover advantage in India. Currently, the meat market is huge with 72 per cent of Indians being non-vegetarians. The size of the market is estimated to be at $ 45 billion. Given the growing concerns around wellness and sustainability, India has the potential to emerge as a large market for plant-based alternatives. ITC said it is mainly using pea-based protein but is also exploring other alternatives such as soybean and legumes for expanding its plant protein range. It also plans to launch various ingredients under its new venture.