INDIA ADDA – Perspectives On India

IBEF works with a network of stakeholders - domestic and international - to promote Brand India.



Dikshu C. Kukreja
Dikshu C. Kukreja
Mr. V. Raman Kumar
Mr. V. Raman Kumar
Ms. Chandra Ganjoo
Ms. Chandra Ganjoo
Sanjay Bhatia
Sanjay Bhatia
Aprameya Radhakrishna
Aprameya Radhakrishna
Colin Shah
Colin Shah
Shri P.R. Aqeel Ahmed
Shri P.R. Aqeel Ahmed
Dr. Vidya Yeravdekar
Dr. Vidya Yeravdekar
Alok Kirloskar
Alok Kirloskar
Pragati Khare
Pragati Khare
Devang Mody
Devang Mody
Vinay Kalantri
Vinay Kalantri

The Rising plant Based Sector in India - Insights and Opportunities

The Rising plant Based Sector in India - Insights and Opportunities

Since immemorial times, India has been a place of ahimsa, vegetarianism, and vegan cuisines by default, but the plant-based food business has grown rapidly in recent years. Although the word has lately acquired popularity, plant-based eating has never been an alien concept in India. The export market for India's plant-based sector is expected to increase substantially by 2030. It has emerged as a burgeoning industry with enormous potential. Traditionally, the global food industry has relied heavily on animal-based products, but the tide is turning, and plant-based foods are gaining popularity.

Consumers are becoming more aware of the environmental and health consequences of their food choices, and they are increasingly opting for plant-based alternatives. This shift in consumer behaviour is propelling the growth of plant-based foods and is predicted to continue in the coming years. Between 2022 and 2027, the global vegan food industry is predicted to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 11.32%. The plant-based dairy sector is predicted to grow from US$ 21 million to US$ 63.9 million by 2024, with a compound annual growth rate of 20.7%. India has a sizable vegetarian population (about 30%), and there is a growing awareness of the health and environmental benefits of plant-based diets. The plant-based food market in India is expected to develop at an 11.8% CAGR between 2021 and 2028.

Plant-Based Industry in India
A plant-based food is a finished product created from plant-based ingredients such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Plant-based foods are foods that do not contain any ingredients of animal origin, either during manufacturing or as part of the completed product, and are used as substitutes for foods that would otherwise contain such things.

The production of animal-derived products such as meat, dairy, and eggs have substantial environmental repercussions. Demand for animal meat also leads to land conversion for feed crops and grazing, which consumes a lot of water and resources. This has a negative influence on local communities and ecosystems. A plant-based diet offers a solution to many problems in today's agricultural system, including unethical farming practices, animal maltreatment, and unsustainable agriculture.

The rising demand for vegan snacks and confectionaries is fuelling the expansion of India's vegan business. The vegan food business might account for 7.7% of the global protein market by 2030, worth US$ 162 billion. Furthermore, the global demand for animal and dairy protein is expected to reach US$ 1.2 trillion by 2030. The plant-based dairy market is predicted to increase from US$ 21 million to US$ 63.9 million at a CAGR of 20.7%.

Numerous SMEs and FMCGs have already entered India's plant-based food sector, offering plant-based alternatives to meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, and vegan meals for dogs and cats. The sector is witnessing a boost with over 50 start-ups already active in the space. The expansion of the plant-based foods business provides farmers with an enormous opportunity to enhance their income while tackling food poverty, climate change challenges, hunger, and public health threats. India offers potential for expansion due to its diverse crop yield, advanced food and beverage industry, research institutes, notable R&D achievements, and growing private equity sector.

Market segmentation for plant-based foods in India

  • Plant-Based Meat
    In recent years, there has been a surge in interest in plant-based meat products in India. The development of novel plant-based meat products such as sausages, burgers, and kebabs derived from components such as soy, pea protein, and mushrooms is one of the most recent advancements in India's plant-based meat sector. The market for plant-based meat in India is expected to grow considerably, from a current estimate of US$ 30-40 million to US$ 500 million.
    • Soy-based meat alternatives
      These include soybean-based products such as tofu, tempeh, kebabs, chaaps, and textured vegetable protein.
    • Pea protein-based products
      Burgers, sausages, and other meat substitutes made from pea protein fall under this category.
    • Mushroom-based products
      This includes mushroom burgers and sausages, which are a popular alternative because to their meat-like texture and flavour.
    • Legume-based products
      This includes meat substitutes manufactured from legumes including lentils, chickpeas, and black beans.
    • Jackfruit-based products
      In India, jackfruit is a popular alternative meat source, and it is utilised in items such as burgers, biryanis, and tacos.
  • Plant-Based Seafood
    Although alternatives to beef and chicken are likely to have the highest sales, there is still a considerable market for plant-based seafood, with a projected CAGR of 31.3% from 2022 to 2032.
  • Plant-based Dairy Products
    The plant-based milk category is the most developed plant-based category, with a US$ 2.6 billion market value. Plant-based milk alone accounts for 36% of the overall global plant-based food industry. The plant-based milk business is expected to be worth US$ 59-244 million (Rs. 459-1,889 crore).



Distribution Channel

Plant-based milk and derivatives (viz. Milk, Cheese, Yogurt, Butter, Ice Cream, Creamer, Others)

Soy, Almond, Coconut, Wheat, Rice, Peas, Cashews, and Others

Business to Business (B2B), Business to Customers (B2C), Modern Groceries, Convenience Store, Specialty Store, Online Retail, Hotel, Restaurant, Café (HoReCa)

Plant-based meat (viz. Burger Patties, Tempeh, Hot Dogs and Sausages, Seitan, Meatballs, Ground Meat, Nuggets, Crumbles, Shreds, Others)

Meals, Bakery and Confectionery, Sweet and Savory Snacks, Ready to Drink Beverages (Like Tea and Coffee), Egg Substitutes, Seafood Substitutes, Others

Source: Plant Based Foods Industry Association (PBFIA)

New Technology for Plant-based Food Production

Plant-based meats are often produced utilising a mix of food processing processes such as extrusion, high-pressure homogenization, and heating/cooling.

  • Homogenization
    Plant-based milk alternatives are generally made through homogenization or blending. The basic components, including nuts and seeds, are soaked, crushed, and combined with water to form a homogeneous mixture. After that, the mixture is filtered to get a smooth liquid.
  • High-Pressure Homogenization
    It is utilised to produce a meat-like texture, and heating and cooling may be employed to enhance the texture and replicate the cooking behaviour of meats made from animals.
  • Extrusion Technology
    With the rise in demand for meat substitutes made from plants, the most recent extrusion technology for both wet and dry Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) keeps evolving and getting better.
  • Dual-screw extrusion

This method employs two interlocking screws to combine and homogenise the components more efficiently, resulting in improved texture and uniformity.

  • Co-rotating twin-screw extrusion

This technology employs two interlocking screws that revolve in the same direction, resulting in a more uniform and consistent output than single-screw extrusion.

  • High-temperature short-time (HTST) extrusion

This technology combines high temperatures and short processing times to create a more delicate and delicious outcome.

  • Membrane extrusion

This method uses a porous membrane to isolate the extruded product from the screw and barrel, minimising wear and tear on the extruder and increasing efficiency.


Consumer motivations for turning to Plant-Based

Source: Assocham

Market Opportunities

Increased Health-Conscious

The market for plant-based foods is booming, as people look for more sustainable and healthful dietary options. Therefore, they are becoming more popular among consumers due to their health and nutritional benefits.

Lactose Intolerant Population

Plant-based foods have gained in popularity in recent years, owing to causes such as lactose intolerance and a shift towards vegetarian and vegan diets. Lactose intolerance affects a huge proportion of the population, with symptoms ranging from minor discomfort to severe digestive difficulties. As a result, many individuals are turning to plant-based alternatives to dairy products like almond milk, soy milk, and tofu.

Expansion of Distribution

As the market expands and innovates, there will almost certainly be several new chances for growth and investment. To unlock this market and explore its untapped potential, mass awareness must be created, a product promoted through a proper marketing mix, the distribution must be expanded, and an adequate product mix must be developed.

Improved Product Innovations

Plant-based food firms have the opportunity to create innovative plant-based products that suit consumers' perceived taste, texture, and flavours. Improved flavour, price parity, health advantages, and sustainability are all important elements in increasing demand. Key growth drivers include enhanced R&D facilities, expanded distribution networks, higher manufacturing capacity, and raw material availability.


By 2030, India's urban population is predicted to grow to 600 million people, creating a sizable potential market for foods made from plants. Urban consumers in India are becoming more concerned with their health and more interested in plant-based protein substitutes. Urban Indian customers favour plant-based options such as plant-based protein bars and snacks, plant-based milk alternatives, and plant-based meat substitutes.

Abundance of Raw Materials

Ingredients for many plant-based food products, such as legumes, cereals, fruits, and vegetables, are widely available in India. This may contribute to lower production costs and as a result, lower the price of Plant-based food.


India is a key exporter of a variety of food goods, including rice, spices, fruits, and vegetables, and the plant-based food business provides a possibility for additional export expansion. Indian cuisine has a strong vegetarian and vegan legacy that can be utilised to develop plant-based adaptations of traditional Indian meals for export to other countries. Moreover, India's export potential is also bolstered by the government's attempts to market the country as a destination for investment in the food processing industry. The government has implemented a number of measures to stimulate foreign investment, including tax incentives and streamlined regulatory processes.


Government Initiatives

  • Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY)

A centrally sponsored scheme, Pradhan Mantri Kisan SAMPADA ((Scheme for Agro-Marine Processing and Development of Agro-Processing Clusters) Yojana, has been given a financial outlay of US$ 731.40 million (Rs. 6,000 crore) for the period 2016-2020. It is a comprehensive package which will result in the creation of modern infrastructure and efficient supply chain management from the farm gate to the retail outlet. It will stimulate the expansion of the country's food processing sector. It will also help deliver greater returns to the farmers’ income, creating huge employment opportunities, particularly in rural regions, reducing agricultural waste, raising processing levels, and enhancing the export of processed foods. The following schemes will be implemented under PM Kisan SAMPADA Yojana :

  • Mega Food Parks
  • Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure
  • Creation/ Expansion of Food Processing/ Preservation Capacities (Unit Scheme)
  • Infrastructure for Argo-processing Clusters
  • Creation of Backward and Forward Linkages
  • Food Safety and Quality Assurance Infrastructure
  • Human Resources and Institutions
  • PM Formalisation of Micro Food Processing Enterprises Scheme

Under the Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan, the centrally sponsored scheme, the Pradhan Mantri Formalisation of Micro food processing Enterprises (PMFME) Scheme was launched on 29th June, 2020. This scheme is currently being implemented in 35 states and union territories with the goal of improving the existing micro-enterprises in the unorganized segment of the food processing industry and the formalisation of the sector. It also includes US$ 487.61 (Rs. 40,000) in financial assistance for working capital and the purchase of small tools for each member of the Self-Help Group (SHG) involved in food processing operations. Over 1 lakh SHG members have been identified and a total of US$ 24.74 million (Rs. 203 crore) has been granted.

  • Production Linked Incentive Scheme for Food Processing Industry (PLISFPI)

The Production Linked Incentive Scheme for Food Processing Industry (PLISFPI), a central sector scheme has been allocated a financial outlay of US$ 1.32 billion (Rs. 10,900 crore) for the period of 2021-22 to 2026-27. It aims to assist the emergence of global food manufacturing champions commensurate with India's natural resource endowment and to encourage Indian brands of food products in foreign markets. By 2026-27, the scheme's implementation would enable an increase in processing capacity, resulting in a processed food output of US$ 4.07 billion (Rs. 33,494 crore) and the creation of roughly 2.5 lakh jobs.

Road Ahead
The market for plant-based foods in India is predicted to develop rapidly over the next ten years as a result of rising consumer interest in and access to these foods, product innovation, and hundreds of millions of dollars in domestic and foreign private sector investment. Businesses would need to implement cutting-edge tactics like leveraging technology to boost production efficiency and cut costs. Businesses can also use the country's rich culinary legacy to create authentic and unique plant-based goods that appeal to both domestic and international consumers. Government actions can also play an important role in bolstering the plant-based foods sector. Subsidies, incentives, and regulatory changes can all help to make plant-based foods more affordable and accessible.