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Meat Trick: Will Virus Fears Drive India Towards The Alternative Meat Aisle?

Meat Trick: Will Virus Fears Drive India Towards The Alternative Meat Aisle?

The livestock industry is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions and groundwater depletion

India's alternative meat startups have relied on plant-based manufacturing due to ease of regulations

Cell-based alternative meat research is still at a fairly nascent stage in the Indian market

It’s pretty much the only thing on people’s minds these days. The novel coronavirus has swept the world and left it reeling. With over 3 Bn humans under lockdown, a microscopic organism has brought everything to a standstill.

But how did it start? According to Chinese health authorities, the root cause of the virus is still unknown, yet it is likely that the virus first originated in a live wild animals market in China’s Wuhan city in Hubei province. Now it may seem like markets such as these are rare, but they are a critical part of the Chinese food supply chain and an estimated $70 Bn industry. The current theory is that the coronavirus — the common term for a group of related viruses — which occurs naturally in bats was passed on to a pangolin, where it mutated and became what we know as the ‘novel’ coronavirus or nCov, causing the Covid-19 pandemic.

While China has recently passed yet another law to ban such live markets for food consumption, the novel coronavirus pandemic has thrown light on the consumption of animals. Vegetarianism is not new by any stretch of the imagination. But every few years, viruses — particularly, coronaviruses — bring back the global attention to the consumption of meat and towards vegetarianism.

India, of course, is a peculiar country, in that it is a largely vegetarian population by culture, and not as a choice. India has contributed more to vegetarianism than any other culture.