Plant based meat: India
2021-22 could have been the tipping point in the space here in India :
1) A leading global QSR chain introducing a plant-based meat offering.
2) A big conglomerate with an amazing distribution network launching plant-based meat products
3) A leading celebrity couple and a global ingredient supplier collaborating for a plant-based meat product range.
4) Leading sports & Bollywood celebs endorsing the space and some even investing in it.
Then why the large-scale explosion of space is yet to happen?
The full potential of the plant-based meat product was not explored. The introduction of plant-based meat was in a minced format. My understanding of the strategy was that it was thought to play safe as even vegetarians could be ok with a minced product that was not as meaty as chunks of plant-based meat. The targeting of plant-based meat products “has” to be meat-eaters. Global and local sales data unambiguously point out towards that. So this experiment not being hugely successful makes some other Global QSR players in India wait and watch till a significant move is there in terms of a mass uptick of demand
The pricing of the product was quite high (niche segment). Also, it was in the frozen category ( again niche). The marketing and branding push was not broad-based and forceful. It felt as though it was testing the waters kind of pilot. This again could create doubt in the minds of other major FMCG and e-commerce players for a big long-term bet on the space.
Again high pricing and frozen category hampered a significant and sustainable offtake of products. I am sure some rethinking of the product mix and pricing is taking place. This could potentially result in large-scale success.
This has definitely created a buzz and plant-based meat is the new cool amongst youngsters. This needs to be backed by good-tasting and affordably priced products. Also, good eCommerce and logistics partnerships need to be in place for leveraging the power of D2C in this category.
So how does the above impact a company like GoodDot?
A rising tide lifts all the boat. The market in India is so huge that neither a single-player nor a few players can meet the immense latent demand when it matures.
Whenever the category is built in a robust manner, every player stands to gain from the momentum in the category.
With some of very good experiments mentioned above not being ultra-successful, the big players in the FMCG and foodservice might take a bit more time to take a decisive plunge.
This moves the tipping point by at least a year
This gives startups like GoodDot a clear runway for another year to keep growing and honing their products, marketing, and branding strategy. Thus when the tipping point arrives, we are well-positioned to leverage it maximally.