Entrepreneurs set out to change the world - this statement is often believed to be a farce. But Indian entrepreneurs are busting the myth, with their environment-friendly approach to business in its true sense.
Increasing awareness related to mistreatment of farmed animals and the widespread environmental degradation has caught the interest of Indian entrepreneurs who are encashing on the opportunity to bring change.
Consumers too seem interested in the concept. Subtracting all dairy & animal-sourced products is fast picking up worldwide.
Early days for Veganism have begun in India. From vegan food to vegan wear, some vegan products have begun to make in-roads in the Indian soil.
To explore more about the scope and business opportunities in the vegan-produce market, Entrepreneur India caught up with some entrepreneurs who are bringing some variants.
Multiple Vegan Food Options Making a Room in Food Space
As the popularity of meat market wanes, animal-free options are hitting store shelves. Whether it’s about manufacturing a vegan food product or serving a full vegan food variety with a restaurant in market, food market has included a new genre of business on its menu.
“With the change in people’s eating habits, there is a huge demand in market for vegan food products. This is what led me to start business,” said Kinjal Darukhanawala, founder of Wegan Foods.
Mumbai-based food startup, Wegan Foods had raised an undisclosed amount in funding from UAE Princess, Her Highness Sheikha Arwa Al Qassimi.
The company is all set to launch its first product, Dairy Free Cheese, in October 2017. The Vegan Cheese is soy free, gluten free and suitable for Jains. It is now aiming to tie-up with restaurants, airlines, and other food tech companies which can offer vegan food on their menu.
When we asked her about the consequences of the ongoing trend of turning vegan on the economy, Darukhanawala said "any radical change comes with its impact. No good change can happen just like that. No one is asking people to give up consumption overnight, but gradually it can be handled.”
Kinjal admits the market is too small at this point of time. But believes with the pace of growth, it is going to be the future of the world.
Bangalore-based, Susmitha Subbaraju, the co-owner of Carrots, shared her entrepreneurial journey from starting a free blog on cooking vegan food to co-owning a vegan food restaurant.
“I started with writing about veganism and vegan food recipes on blog. When I saw a lot of lucrative business opportunities growing in the arena, I joined Carrots to add the food variety in menu to make vegan spirit out in the world,” said Subbaraju.
When Subbaraju was asked is the vegan food restaurant a sustainable idea for business in India, she said, “With more people turning vegans today, there is a lot of scope of doing a good business. Deep inside all of us are compassionate for animal lives. Increased awareness is engaging more and more people into veganism.”
Mushrooming Vegan Cosmetic Brands in India
Realizing a grim reality that 50% of animals suffer needlessly in cosmetic testing every day in the world, consumers are on the look out for vegan cosmetic brands.
In 2013, the European Union, the world’s largest cosmetics and personal care market, became one of the first regions in the world to ban animal testing for cosmetics.
India, Israel and Norway followed suit a year later and introduced new laws and proposals aimed at eliminating animal testing. Animals like rats, guinea pigs, and rabbits, get groaned under the pain of skin sensitization, skin irritation, eye irritation, oral toxicity, etc., to assess the safety of a product.
Indian brands like Biotique, Lotus Herbals, The Body Shop, Himalaya Herbals and Emami claim to provide natural extracts products minus the exposure to chemicals and possible toxins.
Some Indian celebrities are also treading the vegan path. Of late, Indian actor Ayesha Takia said she was inclined to start her own chain of vegan restaurant. Her husband Farhan Azmi already owns Infinity Hotels Pvt. Ltd.
A Leather-free Drive in Nation
As veganism is not just about bringing a change in food choices but also what you wear and what you use should be animal-free, we talked to a Calcutta-based vegan shoes brand, 'Veg Shoes' to take a holistic view of how a leather-free shoe market is becoming a new people’s choice.
"Growing consumer demand in using vegan wear led us to produce animal-free shoes in India,” said Manish Parekh, the co-founder of Veg Shoes.
Having left a corporate job in investment banking, Agra native Manish Parekh decided to open a vegan shoe company to sell leather free shoes.
Inspired by the ‘Clean Ganga Mission’, Manish embarked on a journey to start a sustainable business which can contribute to environment-friendly benefit to society as well.
The brand manufactures shoes made with out of artificial fiber called ‘polymers’, which can be used as an alternative of leather.“We produce shoes without any sort of animal product, from the recycled fibers to promote an ideology of keeping earth better and safer,” said Parekh.
His focus is to make 100% pollution free products.