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India Eyeing Global Vegan Product Market: APEDA

The Agricultural and Processed Foods Export Development Authority (APEDA), which is eyeing $30 billion in exports this fiscal, has just launched a National Programme on Vegan Products to respond to global demand for plant-based products.

Eashani Chettri
With a large vegetarian population, India already produces plenty of plant-based proteins such as pulses, soybean, legumes, seeds, nuts, and wheat.
With a large vegetarian population, India already produces plenty of plant-based proteins such as pulses, soybean, legumes, seeds, nuts, and wheat.

The Agricultural and Processed Foods Export Development Authority (APEDA), which is eyeing $30 billion in exports this fiscal, has just launched a National Programme on Vegan Products to respond to global demand for plant-based products.

APEDA Chairman APEDA Chairman M Angamuthu while talking to the media said that India has witnessed a rise in the popularity of plant-based products following the pandemic. And plant-based protein is witnessing a record high in demand. With a large vegetarian population, India already produces plenty of plant-based proteins such as pulses, soybean, legumes, seeds, nuts, and wheat. Moreover, we also have raw materials high in protein as well like chickpeas, soybean, wheat, and millet- all of which are environmentally sustainable as well.

Regarding export possibilities of vegan products, he said looking at the United States exponential growth in vegan products ($7.4 billion in retail sales in 2021), India also plans to become a global leader in the plant-based food sector. We are already one of the top five producers of crucial plant proteins including chickpeas, lentils, millet, peas, rice, soybeans, and wheat.  We have an eclectic mix of natural, social, and economic advantages- all of which point to an untapped potential in the global market of processing and growing plant-based food.

He added that looking at the sales of plant-based milk, there has been an increase of 14 percent to $17.8 billion and plant-based meat sales grew 17 percent to $5.6 billion in 2021. Financial institutions predict that the growth of plant-based food is looking on the positive side. According to Credit Suisse, the sale of meat and milk alternatives is expected to grow between $146 billion and $380 billion by 2030. By 2050, the bank projects sales between $748 billion and $1.4 trillion.

On a question as to how farmers in India could benefit from it, the chairman said, we’re looking at a good amount of consumer interest and the growth of several private plant-based initiatives. APEDA wants to create a global market for India’s indigenous crops benefitting farmers and other key stakeholders. For Indian farmers, this is a phenomenal opportunity to utilize existing natural resources and add value through efficient processing. Moreover, the market is no longer limited to urban regions as more and more cold chains and supermarkets have sprung up in rural regions in recent years.

He added that the Ministry of Food Processing Industry has provided immense support. Moreover, the launch of “Make in India” by the Indian government has been very helpful for the food processing sector. We have seen an increase in growth following infrastructure investments, advantageous financial and credit schemes, foreign direct investment policy, and centralised procurement schemes.

The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY) is a powerful model for upcoming work. Other government initiatives include Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY), the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), the Production Linked Incentive Scheme for Food Processing Industry (PLISFPI), and specific support for smaller enterprises- all of which have been invaluable.

Up through July 2021, 792 out of the 818 proposed projects had been accepted, and the grants-in-aid accepted amounted to $753 million. As of July 2021, the government had approved 63 agro-processing clusters, 292 food processing units, 353 cold chain projects, and 41 mega food parks.

On what vegan product categories is APEDA looking into supporting for export promotion, he said while heavy focus has been put on alternative milks and meats, India sees potential in the ingredient market as well. This means protein-rich concentrates, isolates, and flours- all of which are highly nutritive and can be used to create chapattis and rotis. Near-term opportunities in North America, Europe, and Asia will fill supply shortages and the blooming consumer interest will allow us to expand further.

Current market price of vegan exports from India

With hundreds and millions in domestic and foreign private sector investments, India’s plant-based food sector is expected to increase immensely. The plant-based meat market is projected to range from $283 million to $880 million, whereas the plant-based milk market is projected to range from $59 million to $244 million and the plant-based egg market will range from $34 million to $81 million.

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