Starbucks partners with Imagine Meats to sell vegan products

Coffee chain Tata Starbucks has teamed up with plant-based food company Imagine Meats to sell vegan food in India. The local company is one of a growing number of restaurant chains that are innovating to satisfy the taste buds of India’s vegan population with plant-based meat.

With this partnership, Starbucks will sell vegan sausage croissant rolls, vegan hummus kebab wraps and vegan croissant rolls in Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Gurugram, Goa, Noida, Pune and Jaipur.

Imagine Meats is backed by Bollywood celebrities Ritesh and Genelia Deshmukh, who launched the plant-based meat foods business in 2020.

Sushant Dash, CEO of Tata Starbucks, said the market for vegan products, although still at a nascent stage, is estimated to 200-300 crores. The coffee chain, which operates more than 270 outlets in India, said the plant-based alternatives will cater to the consumer’s diverse palate as they experiment with new cuisines.

“It’s about giving consumers choice and meeting the needs of the growing segment,” Dash said in an interview.

Plant-based meat has found favor with consumers looking for alternatives to meat.

India is seeing an increasing number of businesses offering vegan food and restaurants experimenting with such offerings. In 2020, Jubilant FoodWorks Ltd, which operates the Domino’s pizza chain in India, launched a vegetable protein pizza, which it claimed was 100% vegetarian with the sensory properties of chicken.

Certainly, in key markets such as China, Canada and the United States, Starbucks has partnered with Beyond Meat to introduce plant-based offerings. In 2020, Starbucks China partnered with Beyond Meat as part of the latter’s entry into the Chinese mainland.

Starbucks is expanding its vegan menu globally as part of its plans to reduce its carbon footprint by 50%, he said. The recently launched vegan menu offers more options for customers, in addition to Starbucks’ existing beverage customization options with plant-based dairy alternatives such as almond, oat and soy.

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Rozella J. Cook