AAK, India’s leading manufacturer of specialty oils and fats recently joined forces with food suppliers Vista Processed Foods to collectively use both of its resources to scale up innovation and manufacturing in the alternative protein sector to fulfill the country’s growing demand for plant-based meat alternatives.
Though India’s meat alternative market is in its early stages, two separate 2019 research studies undertaken by IPSOS and the Good Food Institute (GFI) India, a nonprofit organization supporting India’s growing alternative protein ecosystem, show that 63% of Indians are willing to buy plant-based meats.
Before this agreement, both companies were working to promote plant-based innovation. In May of last year, AAK partnered with Good Food Institute India to accelerate innovation for plant-based products. On the other hand, Vista Foods that supplies its products to major foodservice firms including McDonald’s is part of the OSI Group which entered into a manufacturing agreement with global plant-based meat behemoth Impossible Foods back in 2019.
Recently, Vista Processed Foods participated in an AAK Academy session, where both the companies met and decided to work together towards their mission to provide the sensory and cultural experience of animal-derived meat items, but with far lower public health and environmental risks. To achieve this, the two will develop prducts from varied plant-based proteins with Vista manufacturing the products and AAK giving its expert advice on areas like new product innovation.
In a press release seen by Green Queen, MD of GFI India Varun Deshpande said that the plant-based market in India is slowly gaining momentum but needs backing from experts in the industry across the value chain. “This will help fulfill its goals of a more secure, sustainable, and just food system. AAK’s partnership with Vista is the kind of pivotal development which will bring trusted innovation and scale-up capabilities to a nascent industry, enabling it to fulfill skyrocketing local and international demand for delicious, nutritious plant-based meats which are better for human and planetary health.”
In addition, entrepreneurs and food corporations that would like to enter the alternative protein sector can reach out to AAK & Vista Foods and work together to develop and produce these products on a wider scale.
The Indian plant-based meat sector has taken significant strides but requires support from expert partners across the value chain to fulfill its goals of a more secure, sustainable, and just food systemVarun Deshpande, MD of GFI India
AAK India President Dheeraj Talreja said: “As elsewhere in the world, Indian consumers are increasingly concerned about climate change, animal welfare and health, which is fueling demand for plant-based alternatives to meat. We’re delighted to have this opportunity to work with Vista Foods to create great-tasting products made with love for people, plants and the planet.”
“This is a timely partnership for a number of reasons. The COVID-19 crisis has increased consumers’ focus on health, and made them more cautious in their approach to food, with millennials, in particular, focusing on better, more sustainable food choices. Meanwhile, protein deficiency is a serious problem in India, and there is a need to provide consumers with additional, guilt-free sources of protein. India’s plant-based food market is growing, and we’re confident that this unique collaboration with AAK will help accelerate it,” concluded Bhupinder Singh, CEO of Vista Processed Foods.
Recently, to extend its support to this sector in India, GFI India launched the first India Good Food Startup Manual that provides an in-depth guide for entrepreneurs in this space to set up their firms given that it found data that showed that US$3.1 billion was invested into alternative proteins in 2020, marking a record-breaking year for the industry, especially highlighting the massive growth that is taking place in the Asia-Pacific region with over six-fold capital being raised year-on-year.
Lead image courtesy of Fresh-Lock.