Proeon, an Indian startup focused on plant-based protein ingredients, has been selected to join Scrum Ventures’ sustainable food global accelerator program. As part of the Food Tech Studio – Bites! program, Proeon will be connected with food industry leaders in the U.S. and Japan, including big players like Nissin, Nichirei and Ito En, which the startup says is aligned with its market expansion plans.
Announced on Thursday (January 27), Proeon has won a spot on the new Food Tech Studio – Bites! program, a global accelerator by San Francisco-based Scrum Ventures that first launched in September last year. Proeon will be able to gain access to food science experts, mentors, investors and potential industry partners as part of the program to continue expanding its line of plant-based ingredients.
Currently, the Pune-based food tech offers a range of protein ingredients made from crops like amaranth, hemp seed, mung bean, fava bean and chickpeas, which undergo gentle extraction and processing as well as protein conditioning to enhance crops’ natural nutritional value, sensory and functional properties. Proeon’s products can be used to make plant-based meat, milk and other dairy products, as well as vegan egg substitutes and supplements.
The startup’s founders believe that joining the accelerator program, which will give them access to key industry stakeholders in the U.S. and particularly the Japanese market, aligns with its existing expansion goals.
“Japan has long been at the top of our mind for market expansion and growth, since the country is at the forefront of innovation in food and nutrition,” said Ashish Korde, who co-founded Proeon with Kevin Parekh in 2018.
“The [program] provided an opportunity to partner with the best Japanese corporations to co-create innovative and sustainable food products and solutions. It also gave us an opportunity to learn about the innovation and quality benchmarks required by the Japanese quality standards which are some of the finest in the world.”
Among some of the major names that Proeon will be connected with include Nissin, Fuji Oil, Ito En, Otsuka, Juchheim and Nichirei, as well as leading food science and innovation experts like Osaka’s three Michelin-starred chef Hajime Yoneda and Sara Roversi, the founder of Future Food Institute.
Japan has long been at the top of our mind for market expansion and growth, since the country is at the forefront of innovation in food and nutrition.Ashish Korde, Co-Founder, Proeon
Indian innovators have the potential to advance the global state of the plant-based foods sector. Proeon is emblematic of that innovation in plant protein ingredients, and we’re thrilled that they have been selected.Varun Deshpande, Managing Director, GFI India
Varun Deshpande, managing director of the Good Food Institute India (GFI India), believes that the selection of Proeon into the program represents the strong potential of the Indian alternative protein ecosystem to drive sustainable innovation across the world. While still in its nascent stages, India is now home to a fast-growing cohort of food techs who are developing everything from plant-based eggs to vegan kebabs, or like Proeon, are creating sustainable proteins at the ingredients level of the supply chain.
“In leveraging our unique biodiversity, agricultural supply chains, and entrepreneurial dynamism, Indian innovators have the potential to advance the global state of the plant-based foods sector. Proeon is emblematic of that innovation in plant protein ingredients, and we’re thrilled that they have been selected,” said Deshpande.
“We foresee a domino effect on cutting edge innovation as a result of the inputs they receive in this program, and on further business relationships between India and Japan in the future.”
We are eager to collaborate with leading B2C food brands early on during their product development by customising and co-creating solutions that mitigate formulation and production challenges at ingredient level.Kevin Parekh, Co-Founder, Proeon
Ultimately, Proeon says that it hopes to forge more partnerships with other businesses to co-develop sustainable plant-based products using innovative ingredient R&D, which it believes is the “key to solving the world’s protein problem”.
“We are eager to collaborate with leading B2C food brands early on during their product development by customising and co-creating solutions that mitigate formulation and production challenges at ingredient level,” commented Proeon co-founder Parekh.
“In the end, we all want to ensure that consumers get healthier, tastier, and clean label products, and hence, we are all in this together.”
Lead image courtesy of Rimma Bondarenko / Shutterstock.