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India’s love affair with dairy is well documented. As a country, it has the largest dairy herd in the world and milk production accounts for 5 percent of the national economy. Local cuisines frequently feature dairy, as well as eggs and chicken. Despite this, India has been identified as a key plant-based market driver, thanks to its emerging smart protein sector.
Not just a location suitable for global brand expansion, India is developing domestic success stories. In 2020, a $2.1 billion development fund was announced to support the dairy and meat processing sectors. Despite this, the smart protein industry is growing competitively.
5 Indian smart protein stories to follow include:
1. Swiggy and GoodDot partner up
India’s biggest delivery platform has just announced it will be making GoodDot products available to more Indian households. Items are available for purchase through Swiggy’s Instamart and can be delivered within 15-30 minutes. GoodDot is recognised as one of India’s first vegan meat innovators and a pioneer. Since its inception in 2016, it has secured funding to diversify its range. The company has also moved into food service, opening India’s first vegan fast-food chain, GoodDo.
Eleven Indian cities will have access to GoodDot via Swiggy, with eight more planned. Demand will drive the evolution of this partnership throughout 2022.
2. ITC steps into the plant-based meat scene
One of India’s biggest and most recognisable firms, ITC has confirmed new plans. The conglomerate is embracing plant-based food in a move that will likely impact India’s export market. So far, burger patties and chicken-style nuggets have been confirmed. Both will be available to food service partners and customers. ITC is working with the Good Food Institute India (GFII) on an effective launch strategy.
The size and outreach of ITC make this a story worth following. New lines have the potential to be developed quickly and in quantity.
3. Alt Foods launches unconventional dairy-free drinks
New plant-based startup Alt Foods has made its debut with two dairy-free drinks. They do not follow the standard path of oat or nut-bases. Both are made using indigenous crops including sprouted sorghum and finger millets. The company has launched in a bid to bring sustainable, domestic alternatives to India. With country-wide demand for dairy-free milk increasing, the development was well-timed.
Moving away from commonplace milk bases allowed alt foods to tap into the allergen-free niche of dairy-free drinks. Chocolate and original are the first flavours brought to market. More are anticipated in 2022.
4. BVeg Foods joins forces with QSR Haldiram
BVeg has launched a collaboration with popular restaurant chain Haldiram. Two dishes have been created using the former’s plant-based meats. They will be available as part of the winter menu and served in all 80 restaurants in the country. The move has been seen as part of BVeg’s ambitions to bring plant-based meats to more people in India, as well as the rest of the world. The company plans to make significant infrastructure improvements to allow this to happen.
BVeg has announced plans to become an “end-to-end solution provider” for the plant-based meat sector, working with other startups. It retains a focus on domestic manufacturing alongside global distribution. State-of-the-art facilities will be a major development in BVeg’s story.
5. Blue Tribe Foods expands its reach
Blue Tribe announced that Jaipur residents will be able to buy plant-based chicken nuggets and keema. The news comes after multiple cities in India already had easy access to the full product range. The Mumbai-based startup launched in early 2021. Initially, five cities were being serviced with direct-to-consumer web sales. This number increased to seven and now, as Jaipur joins the ranks, eight.
Increased distribution and new product lines, including vegan pork sausages, have both come in under a year. That makes this a company worth keeping an eye on.
The GFII’s Smart Protein Summit is a valuable resource when identifying smart protein trends in India. Held virtually due to Covid restrictions, the 2020 event highlighted India’s position as a lynchpin for the plant-based global food system. Nutrition giant Kerry also seemingly confirmed this by revealing findings from a study it carried out. Overall openness to and demand for plant-based foods were identified, with 70 percent of a one billion-strong population claiming to regularly eat meat-free or vegan dishes.
Lead image courtesy of Unsplash.