Asif Ali Gohar and Veganism in Pakistan


Before assessing the situation of veganism in Pakistan it is important to understand what veganism is, so let’s dive right in. Veganism goes back a long way. The idea was conceived in 1944 and then endorsed by The Vegan Society. The main ideology of the society was to condemn the use of animals for testing out medicines. It also rejected the concept of captivating animals in zoo for public entertainment. With time, the idea was broadened. It now focuses around eliminating the use of animals for both food and nonfood products. Veganism involves abstaining from any sort of animal-based diet and products made using animals.

In recent times, a significant number of people have shifted to a plant-based diet in Pakistan. Although a limited number of vegan products are available to people, the trends suggest that the market potential is huge and a gap exists. Vegan diet is also becoming popular in Pakistan because of rising prices of meat and dairy products. Other than this, vegan alternatives are also becoming popular as more and more people are becoming aware of the phenomenon. For now, there are not many vegan manufacturers in the country but many people are keen to invest. One of them is Asif Ali Gohar.

Asif is a Pakistani born German who moved to Hamburg with his family in 2004. He was only 12 when they arrived in Germany but he quickly settled in. By the age of 15 Asif had discovered veganism through a school project and had realized that he was unable to comprehend the idea of killing animals for human food. Eventually, his interest grew and Asif began to look for vegan alternatives.

Asif Ali Gohar pursued business administration as a major for his university. During his time at the University of Hamburg, he came across the idea of making a vegan leather substitute. He first started tests with rice and was looking for a way to convert it into leather slime. After many experiments and research, Asif finally found a way to convert rice into leather slime. It used rice as the main ingredient but yeast and acetic acid were also required as they helped the bacteria to grow. It allowed him to create a leather which was not only as good as animal-based leather but also it was cost effective and scalable.

While cost might be a concern but there were other factors as well that led Asif Ali Gohar to use rice as the main agent of the process. Pakistan is the 4th largest rice exporter in the world. It produces 8% of the world’s rice trade. Hence, the supply of raw material is not an issue in a country like Pakistan. Additionally, this would allow the local economy grow.

Pakistan is a big exporter of leather. It exports a total of $874 million worth of leather each year. This means that the leather industry has a 5.6% share in the GFP. Launching a product as such in a market like Pakistan would not only help investors to earn money but provide them with the opportunity to change the market for good.