Alternative meat in India

Photo by Burst on

Alternative meat is a processed food product made to taste, look, and feel like real meat. Made from peas, soy, or wheat. Or even peanut meal, corn, rice flour, fermented fungus, and jackfruit. Giving rise to the fishless fish, the chickenless chicken and so on. If you have had tofu, you’ve already tasted the oldest kind of alternative meat. You may have even tried an egg-less product with an egg-substitute.

You will see that this meat goes by many names.

  • Meat analogue
  • Meat alternative
  • Meat substitute
  • Mock meat
  • Imitation meat
  • Faux meat
  • Fake meat
  • Vegetarian or vegan meat
  • Meatless meat
  • Plant-based meat
  • Clean meat
  • Alternative meat or seafood
  • Recombinant
  • Cell-based

Then there’s meat grown from real animal cells without keeping the animals in captivity or by killing them. Still in the experimental stage, these are known as:

  • Cultured meat
  • Lab-grown meat
  • Cell-based meat

Let’s look at some of the benefits of alternative meat

  • No growth hormones
  • No antibiotics
  • No animal diseases
  • No antibiotic resistance
  • No food poisoning
  • No under cooking
  • Choose from options such as gluten-free, soy-free, and GMO free
  • Less land and water use
  • No livestock cultivation
  • Less carbon emissions (15% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the world are from livestock)

Notable companies in the international alternative meat market

  • Impossible Foods
  • Beyond Meat
  • Nestle Awesome
  • Kellogg’s Incogmeato

In India, as per a 2019 Vox article, 10.7% think they would not like to purchase lab-grown meat at all. 5.5% think they are likely to purchase plant-based meat. A lot can change in a year. Assuming majority of the people in India are vegetarian, should this even matter? Yes, because it’s a myth.

An estimated 64–74% of the population consumes some form of animal-based meat, at least occasionally. As per a recent survey published in May 2020, respondents are willing to pay a premium for plant-based meat and a smaller premium for cell-based meat over the price of conventional meat. This research was conducted in Mumbai in a series of 424 interviews.

Companies producing alternative meat in India

  • Good Dot
  • Evo
  • Clear Meat
  • Unived
  • Ahimsa Food
  • Vegeta
  • Vezlay
  • Vegitein
  • Nutrela
  • AAK Kamani
  • Brew51
  • Imagine Meats

People are vary of the health effects of processed alternative meat. Some think this is going to disrupt the agriculture industry and use cheap raw materials. The benefits listed above may not be for everyone, especially for those who depend on animal husbandry for food and economical stability.

With the market for these products that only seems to be growing, should we err on the side of caution?

I’d love to know what you think.


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