Big Macs, Double Downs and meat lovers pizzas may be major boons for quick-service giants in the United States, but in India, where the segment’s growth is astounding, it’s the vegetarian items that are making money.

According to Indian Finance News, McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut and Domino’s in India are now raking in more than 50 percent of their sales from vegetarian dishes. Conversely, 95 percent of global sales at Domino’s, and 70 percent of global sales at Pizza Hut are non-vegetarian.

The trend’s roots are three-fold. Chains are taking a nod from retail supermarkets that avoid stocking non-vegetarian fresh produce items; the Indian population is becoming more health conscious – as is the rest of the world; and an estimated 30 percent of QSR customers in the country are vegetarian.

Traditional Indian cuisine offers a wide variety of vegetarian options to cater to the country’s large Hindu population, which encourages the diet.

Catering to this trend, Pizza Hut’s big vegetarian sellers include the classic margherita, the “kadai paneer” pizzas and creamy stroganoff pastas. At McDonald’s units in India, 45 percent of the total sales are generated by vegetarian offerings, such as the McAloo Tikki burger.

KFC has experienced a 20 percent increase in traffic after it added vegetarian items to the menu, including the Zinger Burger, introduced in July.

These numbers have inspired some chains to consider opening vegetarian-only outlets. Domino’s already has seven such restaurants in India, including four in Gujarat, one in Haridwar, one in Amritsar and one in Shirdi.

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