As more and more fast-food chains abroad introduce or consider adding vegan burgers and other animal-free options to their menus, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India recently wrote to McDonald's, Burger King, and KFC in India requesting vegan (meat, egg, and dairy-free) burgers or chicken to meet the rising demand for vegan foods in the country.
Thousands of individuals have also sent messages to McDonald's India via the group's website asking the company to offer a McVegan burger.
In addition, many people have sent appeals to McDonald's India via Twitter, and vegetarian actor Sonu Sood retweeted a message in favour of introducing the vegan burger in India as well.
While the chains offer vegetarian options, none of them label any of their vegetarian main menu dishes as suitable for vegans.
Meanwhile, the McVegan has already been introduced with great success in Finland and Sweden, while KFC is considering offering vegan chicken in the UK and fast-food chain White Castle sells a high-quality veggie burger that "bleeds" like meat in the US.
Pizza Hut offers vegan cheese pizza in the UK, and Domino's sells it in Australia.
"More and more people in India are going vegan, and it's high time that fast-food chains responded to the booming demand by adding vegan options to their menus as they already have in the West," says PETA India CEO Dr Manilal Valliyate. "Consumers today are more health-conscious and concerned about the impact of the meat, egg, and dairy industries on animals and the environment, but they'd still like to pick up quick, reasonably priced, and tasty treats from well-known fast-food brands – as long as the food is vegan."
A recent article on a website run by Franchise India Holdings Limited, Asia's "authority on franchising", states that the number of vegans in India has risen by 360 per cent in the past decade. And the trend is global: 70 per cent of the world's population is eliminating or reducing its meat consumption.
This movement is being driven largely by millennials who care about issues such as animal protection and the effect of food production on climate change. Within a span of three years in the US, vegan eating rose by 600 per cent.
There are also now thought to be 3.5 million vegans in the UK. And the Chinese government has released new dietary guidelines aimed at reducing its population's meat consumption by 50 per cent.
Already, products like soya chaap – a delicious vegan alternative to meat that can be used in burgers – are hugely popular in certain parts of India....