By Nivetha B R.

Discover the rising demand for meatless meat and plant-based protein ingredients in India, driven by health-conscious consumers seeking sustainable and nutritious alternatives.


India’s current demand for plant protein ingredients is 9.8% for meatless and is forecast to grow at the rate of 7.8% during 2021-26. People are becoming more conscious of their dietary choices and are actively seeking healthier alternatives. As a result, there has been a growing demand for vegan food products that are perceived as healthier and nutritionally beneficial. Moreover, plant-based diets provide a wide range of essential nutrients, including fibre, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. As a result, people are widely adopting vegan foods to ensure a nutrient-rich diet. 

Meatless meat

Meatless meat, also known as plant-based meat or vegan meat, is a type of food that is made from plants and is designed to look, taste, and have the same texture as animal meat. Meatless meat is often made from soy, wheat gluten, or pea protein, and it can be used in a variety of dishes, such as burgers, sausages, and nuggets. The meatless meat industry is growing rapidly. This growth is being driven by a number of factors, including the increasing number of vegetarians and vegans, growing awareness of the health benefits of plant-based diets, and increasing availability of meatless meat products. There are a number of different brands of meatless meat available in the market. Some of the most popular brands include Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, Gardein, and Tofurky. These brands offer a variety of different products, including burgers, sausages, nuggets, and ground beef.

Meatless meat can be a great way to add protein to your diet without consuming animal products. It is also a good option for people who are looking for a lower-fat and lower-calorie alternative to meat.

Meatless meat Ingredients

Currently, Soy protein is the dominant plant protein in India; however, pea protein is gaining significance as an alternate plant protein source. The use of pea protein in the meatless sector is set to grow at a CAGR of 10% which is the highest among plant proteins followed by soy protein isolate at a CAGR of 9.8% over the forecast period of 2023-27 Other ingredients majorly used in the meatless sector by the manufacturing companies were defatted soy flour accounting for 40% and 30% wheat gluten.

Plant protein ingredients include soy protein isolate/concentrates, pea protein, and potato protein are directly supplied by suppliers like DuPont and Roquette that import and supply the domestic market. At present, some other plant proteins which are used as an alternative to soy and pea protein are rice protein, chickpea protein, and mung dal protein

Companies manufacturing plant-based meat products

Good Dot is one of the market leaders in the meatless sector and its products contain soy protein isolate, wheat gluten and pea protein. Forever Flora produces meatless products using a variety of vegetables and two types of mushrooms including wheat gluten as a source of protein. Wakao Foods produces meatless products using processed jackfruit to get the meat texture and flavour. BVeg manufactures all the products at a pilot level and has made them available to a few customers through institutional sales in 6 cities. Vezlay has a wide variety of around 32 meat analogue products and has a strong distribution network in South India.

Challenges faced by companies

Taste: One of the biggest challenges for meat substitute producers is creating products that taste like real meat. This is a difficult task, as meat has a complex flavour that is difficult to replicate. Some companies have had success using plant-based ingredients to create products that taste like meat, but others have struggled to achieve this.

Price: Meat substitutes are often more expensive than meat, which can be a barrier to adoption for some consumers. Companies in this space are working to reduce the cost of their products, but this is a challenge as they need to use high-quality ingredients to create products that taste good.

Consumer acceptance: Not all consumers are willing to try meat substitutes, and some people may be hesitant to switch from meat to plant-based products. Companies in this space need to educate consumers about the benefits of meat substitutes and overcome their concerns.

Scaling up production: As the popularity of meat substitutes continues to rise, businesses operating within this sector must possess the capability to expand their production capacities. This can be a challenge, as it requires significant investment in new facilities and equipment.

Regulation: The meat substitute industry is still relatively new, and there is some uncertainty about how it will be regulated. This uncertainty can make it difficult for companies to plan and invest in new products.


Despite these challenges, the meat substitute industry is growing rapidly. As more consumers become aware of the benefits of plant-based diets, the demand for meat substitutes is likely to continue to grow. Companies in this space that are able to overcome the challenges mentioned above will be well-positioned to succeed in the years to come. Overall, the growth of India’s meatless protein demand is a positive trend. It is providing consumers with more options for healthy and sustainable protein sources. It is also providing businesses with opportunities to develop innovative and high-quality plant-based protein products. On the other hand, COVID-19 has both positive and negative impacts on India’s meatless sector. Due to the lockdown, the country banned travelling and shut down businesses which in turn reduced the economic and industrial growth of developing countries. Disruption in the supply chain during the pandemic witnessed lower growth in the vegan food sector. However, the increased consumption of vegan products during Covid 19 boosted the market growth as consumers were concerned about their immune health, energy metabolism, lifestyle, and systematic inflammation

About the Author

The author is Nivetha B R. She is a Research Analyst at F1rstMR, GIRACT. She has done her Master’s in Food Technology (M.Tech), from TANUVAS. She has been associated with F1rst and working on multiple projects relevant to market study of Food ingredients. You can connect with her at