After launching India’s first homegrown brand of “hyper-realistic” plant-based meats late last year, Upstablish Food Technologies is now ramping up its presence across the country with new product launches and retail expansion plans in the pipeline for 2021. In the long run, the brand, Greenest, wants to become the “largest and most comprehensive portfolio of plant based meats in India”.
Merely months after launching its plant-based meat alternatives described as “hyper-realistic” versions of some of India’s favourite meats, Greenest will be expanding its product line and distribution across the country this year. The brand was founded by plant-based startup Upstablish, the brainchild of Gaurav Sharma, Kannan Krishnamoorthy and Dinesh Jain, who are working alongside India’s growing list of alternative protein entrepreneurs to bring sustainable, nutritious and affordable proteins to the country.
Adding to its existing range, which currently includes vegan Shami Kebabs that come in five different flavours and minced meat Keema – both sold through the brand’s direct-to-consumer website – Greenest says that the next products in the pipeline will be plant-based burgers and nuggets, slated to debut on the market this year.
Greenest makes its plant-based alternatives out of non-GMO soy protein, split roasted chickpeas and natural flavourings, and are developed to offer consumers the same mouthfeel and experience of real meat, but are cruelty-free and come at a fraction of the environmental cost. From a nutritional standpoint, the brand’s vegan substitutes boast a high protein content with at least 10-grams per serving, while containing no preservatives, cholesterol or trans fats.
Geographically, we plan to enter Mumbai and Bangalore in the first half of 2021. We are soon coming on Amazon, Big Basket, Milk Basket, Grofers, select retail stores and cafés and restaurants too.Gaurav Sharma, Co-Founder & CEO, Upstablish
In addition to extending its range, Greenest will also be doubling down its retail footprint across the country, distributing its products into more major cities and launching on key e-commerce platforms too.
“Geographically, we plan to enter Mumbai and Bangalore in the first half of 2021. We are soon coming on Amazon, Big Basket, Milk Basket, Grofers, select retail stores and cafés and restaurants too,” co-founder and CEO Sharma told Green Queen.
One of the major restaurants that Greenest is now in talks with for a co-branded collaboration is MOETS, a popular legacy chain that is widely known for its meat dishes across India. Sharma tells Green Queen that the partnership was kicked off after Varun Deshpande, managing director of the Good Food Institute India (GFI India) decided to put the restaurant in touch with the startup.
“Sampling with them, they instantly took a liking to our products saying it is pretty impossible to tell the difference between Greenest Kebabs and the ones made from real meat,” said Sharma, who added without specifying further details that they are also in discussions with a number of other restaurant partners.
The news comes as consumers across the world and in India have been turning to plant-based meats more than ever before in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, which has exposed the dangers of the meat supply chain. Even before the crisis struck, Indian consumers have already indicated strong willingness to opt for plant-based alternatives due to health and sustainability concerns, even if it comes at a slight premium.
Our vision is to become the largest and most comprehensive portfolio of plant based meats in India and become an INR 100 crore brand within the next 4 years.Gaurav Sharma, Co-Founder & CEO, Upstablish
This growing appetite for alternative proteins is reflected in the response that Greenest has received since its launch.
“The kebabs have seen some really strong traction with about 30% of the consumers coming back within the second month and this trend is really encouraging,” explained Sharma. “And while kebabs are a great snacking option for Indians, the Keema is popular because it is something which can be used by consumers on an everyday basis in their kitchens due to its wide range of end user applications and versatility.”
Ultimately, Greenest wants to become one of the leading players driving India’s nascent but fast-growing plant-based revolution, Sharma tells Green Queen. “Our vision is to become the largest and most comprehensive portfolio of plant based meats in India and become an INR 100 crore brand within the next 4 years.”
All images courtesy of Upstablish / Greenest.