The American company based on vegetable meat, Beyond Meat, was included in the list of 1.5 billion dollars last year, and it is currently estimated at 1.8 billion dollars. The growing trend of vegetarianism in the West has also led to the emergence of other plant-based food companies such as Impossible Foods, Omni Pork and Oatly.
Made from plant products such as soy and chickpeas, these brands promise a similar texture, taste and enjoyment that good old beef and mutton burgers could offer at McDonalds or Burger King burgers.
This trend of plant food products is starting to raise money in India as well. In the last year, a number of start-ups have been launched, such as Vegolution (Hello Tempayy) and Blue Tribe Foods, which are specifically focused on plant-based nutrition. The intention of these brands is not so much to instill a culture of vegetarianism like their Western counterparts, but to take advantage of the lack of protein that exists in the country. India is known to be among the countries in the world with the most protein.
The question is how India is among the countries with the most protein in the world when close to 70 percent of Indians consume eggs, chicken and mutton that are assumed to contain a lot of protein.
“Of the 70 percent of Indians who are technically non-vegetarians, only 30 percent are strong non-vegetarians, and the rest are causal non-vegetarians. They rarely consume meat. Unlike the United States, where per capita meat consumption in the region is 75-80 kg per year, the average Indian consumes barely 4kg of meat a year, ”explains Vegolution CEO and founder Siddarth Ramasubramanian.
Vegolution’s Hello Tempayy brand produces the product by fermenting soy. Ramasubramanian’s vision to launch the Hello Tempayy program is to offer more options for a vegetarian diet in India, which does not have too many options with protein.
“A non-vegetarian in India is not the same as a non-vegetarian in the US or Europe, where they eat meat at least one meal a day. It has become clear that vegetarian meals make up a large percentage of the population in India and we felt a gap there as well as the audience. to whom we talked it was enough to eat a paneer, outside the vegetables. They had no food to enjoy. The longing for something delicious, outside the paneer, was obviously there, “he explains.
Tempe, a key ingredient in Hello Tempayy, is a centuries-old soy product produced by growing and fermenting soy and water that looks like a cube of panera or tofu. Ramasubramanian claims that it can be in different shapes – it can be mashed, cut into cubes or ground.
“It absorbs delicious flavors and can be cooked as kebabs, taco fillings or even tossed in pasta. It’s a vegetarian ingredient that has the highest quality protein,” he says.
Although Hello Tempayy calls itself a brand that meets the needs of protein in plant-based diets, the strategy of the Mumbai-based start-up company Blue Tribe Food is to be a sought-after replacement for conventional chicken keema or lump. He launched vegetable chicken keema and chicken fries.
“If Venky’s sells chicken nuggets, we want to compete with the Blue Tribe herbal chicken nuggets. We don’t ask people to go vegan, but even if you eat meat four times a week, you could replace it once or twice a week with herbal meat and gain the same experience, ”says Sohil Wazir, chief commercial officer of Blue Tribe Foods.
Blue Tribe chicken keema is made from peas and soy, using a low-moisture protein extrusion technique. “The proteins in the pea or soy are extracted and then structured so that it feels like proteins and then we add the flavor of the chicken,” Wazir explains.
According to MD Varun Deshpande of the Institute of Good Food from India (GFI), the biggest challenge for these plant-based food brands is to create products that satisfy the desire for meat.
“It’s important that meat of plant origin goes beyond soybean grains. If non-vegetarians try soybean grains, they would call it an inferior meat substitute. Therefore, next-generation products must be aimed at replicating the sensory experiences of meat,” says Deshpande. He cites the example of the Beyond Meat beef burger, which is made from rice protein, coconut oil, beetroot juice and mung protein, but tastes completely like beef.
The mission of the AFS is to build a plant protein ecosystem in India. “Eggs and meat of animal origin are popular, but the negative impact on the planet is significant. Demand for meat will grow due to rising incomes in India and China. We need to produce 50-70 percent more meat each year by 2050 and this will obviously have an impact on the planet “says Deshpande.
These herbal foods not only need to taste just like their non-vegetarian counterparts, but they need to be competitively priced. For example, a 200-gram pack of Hello Tempayy costs 130 euros, which is similar to a paneer. However, a pack of 250 grams of plant-based chicken nuggets from the Blue Tribe costs Rs 295, which is more than the usual Rs 200 chicken nuggets. But Wazir says their soon-to-be-introduced vegetable-based mutton keema would be on par with the regular goat meat available on the market.
Most of these plant-based food products are currently available in metro markets either through a brand website or an e-commerce market such as Amazon or in modern retail stores like Nature’s Basket and Foodhall.