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Domino’s Pizza, operated by foodservice giant Jubilant FoodWorks in India, has launched a pizza with plant-based meat toppings. Available at all Domino’s locations across the major cities Delhi NCR, Mumbai and Bangalore, the move marks the first time that a QSR chain in the country has embraced plant-based meat – a signal of the unstoppable growth in demand for healthier, safer and more sustainable protein options from mass consumers.
The iconic pizza chain in India, run by country’s largest foodservice company Jubilant FoodWorks, has debuted its new Unthinkable Pizza in its locations across the strategic cities of Mumbai, Delhi NCR and Bangalore as a part of a pilot test of the market. The pizza, which is only suitable for vegetarians as it contains dairy cheese, is topped with black olives, paprika, and a 100% plant-based protein chicken mince – an alternative for one of the most highly consumed animal proteins in the country alongside fish.
Domino’s has always brought pioneering innovations to the Indian market, and we are happy to once again be the first to bring this trend to India.Pratik Pota, CEO, Jubilant FoodWorks
“We are delighted to launch India’s first plant protein based product,” said Pratik Pota, CEO of Jubilant FoodWorks in a statement. “This innovative and 100% vegetarian product will allow Indian consumers to experience the plant-protein wave sweeping across the world. Domino’s has always brought pioneering innovations to the Indian market, and we are happy to once again be the first to bring this trend to India.”
While the pizza – currently sold online for 459 INR (US$6.28) – comes with a higher price tag compared to its animal-based counterparts, recent studies have suggested that Indian consumers are willing to purchase plant-based meats for a premium, mainly due to health and sustainability reasons. It is likely that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic will further motivate consumers to choose plant-based meats due to health and safety concerns, and producers have also highlighted that costs will gradually decrease over time as the industry scales.
“The Indian plant-based industry is still being established, and we applaud Jubilant FoodWorks for taking this important step and testing the market,” commented Varun Deshpande, managing director of Good Food Institute India (GFI India), a nonprofit supporting the country’s alternative protein ecosystem.
There is plenty of work to do to deliver consumers products that taste the same or better than the meats they know and love, without the guilt of negatively impacting planetary health – but this is a major step in the right direction.Varun Deshpande, Managing Director, GFI India
“There is plenty of work to do to deliver consumers products that taste the same or better than the meats they know and love, without the guilt of negatively impacting planetary health – but this is a major step in the right direction,” Deshpande continued. “Plant-based meats are at the forefront of food innovation globally, and hold tremendous promise to fight back against climate change, zoonotic diseases, and food insecurity.”
Although the Indian plant-based industry is still growing, it has been picking up steam of late, with multiple homegrown startups in the midst of rapid expansion. Pioneering startup GoodDot, for instance, is now taking its line of animal-free meat products and vegan meals global and is set to launch across Nepal, U.A.E., Canada, South Africa and Singapore, while plant-based egg maker Evo Foods is eyeing the U.S. market.
Other Indian startups are focused on growing locally, with Upstablish offering a line of “hyper-realistic” vegan meats under the brand Greenest across Delhi and Bollywood stars Genelia and Riteish Deshmukh’s new venture Imagine Meats to develop vegan dishes and products tailored to local cuisines and appetites.
Lead image courtesy of Domino’s Pizza.