The new FSSAI draft regulation on vegan food by which soon vegan food in India will be separately labelled, just like the green and red dot for vegetarian and non-vegetarian, also gives an inclusive definition to the term. Food that does not include any ingredients, additives or processing aids of animal origin including milk and milk products, fish, poultry, meat, egg, honey, honey products, materials of insect origin like silk, dyes and bone char used in sugar bleaching.
This once approved will be a significant step forward especially since there are still countries that have not included ingredients like bone char. This also gains significance at a time when finally Indian Vegans are seeing a surge in their numbers.
Across the world veganism is gaining acceptance. And, pandemic has given a shot in the arm. While India is ahead in number of vegetarians by virtue of its social structure, veganism has been slow to catch up. Using dairy is so much a part of culture that the almost one third of vegetarian population does not think twice before including dairy products into their diet.
This is unlike the west where vegetarianism is catching up not just for health but out of ethical consciousness. Post pandemic, however, there has been a definite shift.
Global organisation Veganuary that advocates plant-based diet has released 2021 survey results on top ten countries that have maximum vegan signups early this year. Interestingly, as per the results, India has grabbed the third spot and is the only Asian country on the list. The results also indicate that the trend will continue through the year as more and more people are staying away from meat and dairy out of health concerns. The many alternative dairy options like almond milk, soy, coconut or oat milk filling up the retail counters too is giving an indication of the changing trend. Several Indian startups are attracting investments to produce vegan alternatives and top food brands are expanding their portfolio to include vegan options.
India does look poised to become a major market for plant based alternative proteins. Even though startups are increasingly looking towards alternative solutions to dairy, alternative plant protein too is vying for the space. Startups like Imagine Meats, Plantmade, Evo Foods, Oziva etc are setting example by attracting investments and developing diversified product profile to meet the demand.