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Coffee chain Tata Starbucks has tied up with plant-based food company Imagine Meats to sell vegan food in India. The homegrown firm is among a growing number of restaurant chains innovating to cater to the taste buds of the Indian vegan population with plant-based meat.

With the partnership, Starbucks will sell vegan sausage croissant roll, vegan hummus kebab wraps and vegan croissant buns 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 venture in 2020. 

Sushant Dash, chief executive officer, Tata Starbucks, said the market for vegan products, though still at a nascent stage, is estimated at 200-300 crore. The coffee chain, which operates 270-plus outlets in India, said the plant-based alternatives will addressing the diverse palate of the consumer as they experiment with new cuisines. 

“It is about giving consumers the choice and about catering to the segment which is growing," Dash said in an interview.

Plant-based meat has found favour among consumers looking for meat alternatives.   

India is seeing a growing number of companies 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 pizza made from plant-based proteins, which it said was 100% vegetarian with sensory properties of chicken.

To be sure, in key markets such as China, Canada, and the US, Starbucks has partnered with Beyond Meat to introduce plant-based offerings. In 2020, Starbucks China tied up 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%, it said. The recently-launched vegan food menu provides 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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