Coffee chain Tata Starbucks has partnered with plant-based foods company Imagine Meats to sell vegan foods in India. The local company is one of a growing number of restaurant chains innovating to satisfy the taste buds of India’s vegan population with plant-based meat.
As part of the partnership, Starbucks will sell vegan sausage croissant buns, vegan hummus kebab wraps and vegan croissant buns in Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Gurugram, Goa, Noida, Pune and Jaipur.
Imagine Meats is endorsed by Bollywood stars Ritesh and Genelia Deshmukh who launched the plant-based meat food company in 2020.
Sushant Dash, Tata Starbucks Chief Executive Officer, said that while the vegan products market is still in its infancy, it is valued €200-300 crores. The coffee chain, which operates more than 270 stores in India, said the plant-based alternatives will appeal to consumers’ diverse palates as they experiment with new cuisines.
“It’s about giving consumers choice and serving the growing segment,” Dash said in an interview.
Plant-based meats have gained traction among consumers looking for meat alternatives.
India is seeing a growing number of companies offering vegan food and restaurants experimenting with such offerings. In 2020, Jubilant FoodWorks Ltd, which operates pizza chain Domino’s in India, launched a pizza that was made with plant-based proteins and was 100% vegetarian with chicken sensory qualities.
In key markets like China, Canada and the US, Starbucks has partnered with Beyond Meat to introduce plant-based offerings. In 2020, Starbucks China partnered with Beyond Meat as part of Beyond Meat’s entry into mainland China.
Starbucks is expanding its vegan menu globally as part of its plans to reduce its carbon footprint by 50%, it said. The recently launched vegan menu offers customers more options, in addition to existing Starbucks beverage customization options with plant-based milk alternatives like almond, oat and soy.