Mumbai based startup Blue Tribe Foods recently launched plant-based ‘chicken’ nuggets that claim to replicate the taste, texture, and look of real chicken nuggets in an effort to provide Indian consumers with guilt-free foods while decreasing the environmental damage caused due to animal agriculture products.
Founded in November 2020 by Nikki Arora Singh and Sandeep Singh, the Mumbai-based startup Blue Tribe Foods recently debuted its plant-friendly chicken nuggets.
The real issue the environment and planet are facing right now is that everyone thinks that their protection is someone else’s problem to solve. Though I was a flexitarian (a person who is primarily vegetarian but occasionally eats meat or fish) for a large part of my life, I was aware of the negative impact that animal agriculture has on the environment, and how it will eventually affect humansSandeep Singh, Founder and managing director of Blue Tribe Foods
Created out of soybeans and peas, the main aim behind launching this frozen chicken imitation is to provide consumers with an authentic and plant-based version of chicken nuggets that compete on taste and texture.
In an interview with The Better India, Sandeep Singh, founder and managing director of the startup, highlighted that the main aim of these nuggets is to provide alternative guilt-free foods to Indian consumers which are less damaging to the environment. “The real issue the environment and planet are facing right now is that everyone thinks that their protection is someone else’s problem to solve. Though I was a flexitarian (a person who is primarily vegetarian but occasionally eats meat or fish) for a large part of my life, I was aware of the negative impact that animal agriculture has on the environment, and how it will eventually affect humans.”
Singh added that the vegan nuggets are created as a conscious attempt to reduce the consumption of animal-based foods. “Meat consumption in its present form is harmful for more than just ethical reasons. Be it the greenhouse gas contributions, the amount of forest land that needs to be replaced to create pastures to host cattle and poultry, or zoonotic diseases — the science against meat consumption is real. Using research and innovation in food science allows us to provide plant-based meat products that come from sustainable sources, while also being delicious, and positively impacting the environment.”
These nuggets don’t contain any steroids and antibiotics that are usually given to the animals while they are being bred in tiny spaces in industrial-sized farms. Zoonotic diseases, like bird flu, Spanish flu, swine flu, and even COVID-19, can be attributed to the conditions prevailing in these farmsNikki Arora Singh, Co-founder of Blue Tribe Foods
According to a factsheet by the Good Food Institute, plant-based meat uses 47%–99% less land than conventional meat production that uses around 77% of all agricultural land on Earth though it supplies only 17% of the world’s food supply.
Co-founder Nikki Arora Singh added that aside from having a positive impact on the environment, the nuggets carry several health benefits. “These nuggets don’t contain any steroids and antibiotics that are usually given to the animals while they are being bred in tiny spaces in industrial-sized farms. Zoonotic diseases, like bird flu, Spanish flu, swine flu, and even COVID-19, can be attributed to the conditions prevailing in these farms.”
She highlighted that the products also have a zero cholesterol benefit. “Cholesterol only comes from animal sources like meat and dairy products. Plant-based meats will never contain it.”
In July last year, the company conducted a survey with consumers between the ages of 20-45 years in metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Delhi, and Bengaluru. The data showed that about 62% of meat-eaters would try out plant-based meat and almost all of them said that taste dominates their decision-making process while consuming meat.
Consumers can order the plant-based nuggets via the company’s website, which is currently serving Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad. The company is moving fast, with plans to bring a plant-based ‘chicken’ keema to market by the end of this month.
Amid the rising plant-based food trend, fast food giants around India are also beginning to launch plant-based nugget offerings. Recently, Domino’s Pizza, operated by foodservice giant Jubilant FoodWorks in India, debuted a pizza with plant-based meat toppings available across major cities such as Delhi NCR, Mumbai, and Bangalore, making it the first time a QSR chain in the country has decided to take a step towards embracing plant-based meat.
In November of last year, Upstablish Food Technologies, an Indian plant-based startup, under its brand Greenest, launched a range of high-protein plant-based alternatives to kebabs, the country’s first line of ‘hyper-realistic’ plant-based meats.
In a Smart Protein Summit hosted in October last year, the Good Food Institute India (GFI India) made several announcements such as the inclusion of a dedicated investment and advisory platform for Asian food techs, the launch of an India-focused alternative protein accelerator, and in-depth details on Bollywood celebrities Riteish and Genelia Deshmukh’s new vegan meat brand and many more highlighting the increasing growth of the Indian alt protein industry.
Lead image courtesy of Blue Tribe Foods.