What’s in store for plant based industry in 2022?

by Team Conscious Carma
Kunal Mutha, Founder, Only Earth

The ongoing pandemic has spurred a renewed focus on health and well-being among the consumer in India. Growing focus on sustainability, climate change and animal welfare are driving consumers to adopt a healthier lifestyle through plant based alternatives. Today’s consumer is educated and open to exploring food choices , want to understand where their protein comes from and want to feel good about what they eat.

Once considered as a trend, this plant-based movement now indicates a significant shift from being just a trend to becoming a way of life. Today’s consumers are educating themselves about health, food choices, sustainability, the health of the planet at large, and animal welfare and environmental footprint—all things that help drive the plant-based world. The COVID-19 pandemic had a huge impact and put what was already a floating market into overdrive. This pandemic has spurred a renewed focus on health and well-being, inspiring many people to explore adding more plant-based ingredients into their diets.

With people now looking consciously at alternatives, whether it is driven by thoughts of clean eating or contributing to help the environment, the time is right to offer more options for a balanced diet as consumers take an interest in the source of their food and drinks to be able to make informed decisions.

In today’s time vegan startups are ripe for growth especially after the pandemic has exposed the dark side of animal agriculture and reminded us of the importance of being healthy and fit. Globally it is accepted that the growth of a plant-based diet is important for not just for health and animal welfare but also to save the planet from climate change. Animal agriculture is the second largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions after fossil fuels. It is also the leading cause of deforestation, water and air pollution and biodiversity loss.

It is not surprising then that Veganism has come a long way from existing as a micro-trend in the fringes to becoming a widely accepted mainstream movement. An essential part of what makes veganism so relevant today is our renewed focus on health. Any fitness enthusiast will tell you that what you put in your body is more important than the number of hours you put into your workout. The older generation didn’t have six pack abs to flaunt. The next generation however, strive to be fitter than ever which creates part of a large opportunity that vegan startups are well positioned to ride.

To make plant based food and beverage mainstream in India, we need to consider the eating habits of the consumer and provide greater choice and diversity without compromising on taste and experiences. In order to that we also need to mimic the local non-vegan or animal based products and give consumer the choice/freedom to make a shift to a vegan version of the product they were used to.

Simultaneously, we need to focus on 3 vital foundation for any food choice; that are taste, cost, and convenience.

Fundamentally, our food choice must first meet required needs for taste, affordability, and ease of purchase and preparation for the majority of consumers to consider it. Awareness is an important purchasing driver for unique food products, such as plant-based meat. If these three core drivers are met, consumers then have the opportunity to include their higher values into their food choices. Depending on consumer segment, these values include health, sustainability, or animal welfare.

What is in store for 2022?

The demand for vegan-based food is growing rapidly and exponentially and will continue from hereon. This year will also see vegan market grow even further. Whilst almost all types of food are available in vegan form these days like vegan-meat, vegan-milk, there are still some areas that need further research and development, such as cheese and protein based vegetables alternatives. Potato as a category has also made an appearance in plant-based milk apart from soy, almond and oats.

Extracting proteins from vegetables are also being eyed up for the plant-based protein market. Similarly, protein components like tofu, soy and beans are widely used as the main proteins in plant-based meat.

Plant-based baked goods are seeing a huge growth. With consumers’ love for sweets and baked goods, this market will continue to nurture in 2022, with more products and brands being launched on the market.

The potential for new ventures that cater to veganism is immense because of the growing interest in plant-based food, a huge influx of capital and the promise of scalability. Veganism has something to offer to everyone; be it impact for activists, wealth creation for investors or nutritious food for consumers. 

About Only Earth : Only Earth is a brand of vegan, plant-based beverages, initiated to help people make conscious consumption choices. Started by Kunal Mutha the company is based out of Singapore and the beverages are manufactured in Thailand and Sri Lanka. The sole vision is to help people eat right for a better tomorrow.

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