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Iconic global pizza chain PizzaExpress has just launched vegan cheese pizzas across all locations in India. Partnering up with local Mumbai-based cheese manufacturer Soft Spot Foods, the 100% plant-based cheese pizzas will now be available in Mumbai and Delhi. Although the unsustainable and unhealthy nature of dairy consumption has been well-documented by scientists, it has received more attention from mass consumers in recent years, which is driving demand for more accessible plant-based options across India and around the world. The latest move by PizzaExpress India is a confirmation that Indian diners are making the dairy-free shift.
Founded in 1965 by Peter Boizot, PizzaExpress has since grown into a massive global restaurant group with hundreds of restaurants scattered across its home country, the United Kingdom, and all over Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Since veganism started gaining popularity in recent years, the chain has hopped on the trend to provide more plant-based options on their menus worldwide, starting with its British locations before debuting vegan pizzas and pastas across Asia, including in Hong Kong and Singapore.
In their latest plant-based move, PizzaExpress has announced that new vegan offerings will be available at all of their Mumbai and New Delhi locations. Partnering up with Mumbai-based vegan cheese company, Soft Spot Foods, PizzaExpress India has launched a range of 100% plant-based cheese pizzas. Soft Spot Foods produces plant-based cheese made with cashew milk and coconut oil, and their products – Smoked Cheese, Parmesan, Cheddar and Mozzarella – are sold in over 40 retail outlets across the country. Since debuting their new vegan-friendly offerings, PizzaExpress India have been awarded a 2019 Vegan Dining Award for the country’s best vegan margherita by PETA India.
Animal agriculture, which includes animal-derived products like eggs and dairy in addition to rearing animals for meat, is responsible for nearly one-fifth of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions, according to United Nations FAO figures. In 2016, global NGO GRAIN revealed that the top 10 dairy companies in the world generated 231 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually – the same amount as half of France’s total carbon footprint. In addition, dairy farming depletes land nutrients, uses up vast amounts of water and fertiliser too.
Faced with a global climate emergency, whose effects will affect Asia the hardest, it is crucial for consumers to make carbon emission reducing decisions. India in particularly is uniquely vulnerable to the negative consequences of climate change such as droughts and flooding, which will in turn affect crop yields and water availability. Opting for a plant-based diet is one of the most important daily actions that can reduce our impact on the planet.
Alongside red meat, dairy consumption has also been flagged for for its negative health consequences. Long-touted as an important source of calcium and protein, recent research has revealed that it is not only one of the world’s biggest sources of saturated fat, but is also associated with an increased risk of various cancers.
Empowered with greater awareness on the environmental and health impact of dairy and meat consumption, more consumers across Asia are looking to make sustainable food choices. PizzaExpress India’s move is a reflection of the fact that more Indian consumers are willing to try plant-based products – even more so than their American counterparts, as revealed in a Frontiers report earlier this year. In fact the biggest obstacle for Indian consumers wanting to make more sustainable purchasing choices are affordability and accessibility.
Lead image courtesy of PizzaExpress.