A slew of new launches is helping vegetarians add the elusive protein element in their diets even while ensuring that it is as healthy as it is tasty. BINDU GOPAL RAO explores the growing mock meat market in India.
Did you know that your body needs 60 grams of protein to meet its daily requirement? If your diet is plant-based, you might be struggling to meet your daily protein requirement. About 73 percent of India suffers from protein-based deficiencies while almost a considerable 90 percent remain unaware of their daily protein requirements. As a nation with a thriving vegetarian majority, the traditional Indian diet offers very little variety when it comes to plant-based protein options. Proteins not just have a high nutritional value, but also help in weight management and strengthen your immune system.
Plant protein includes pulses, tofu, nuts, seeds, soya, tempeh and seitan. Pulses like chickpeas, lentils, beans and split peas are also a source of plant protein.
Understand Plant Proteins
India’s first ‘Protein Day’ which was on February 27th this year to raise awareness around the numerous health benefits of protein had the theme ‘Power with Plant Protein’. So, what are plant proteins? Simplistically these are a source of protein which comes from plants. This includes pulses, tofu, nuts, seeds, soya, tempeh and seitan. Pulses like chickpeas, lentils, beans and split peas are also a source of plant protein.
There is a growing focus on mock meats that are cell-based. Technological advancements and the collective ecosystem will help in constantly improving product quality and making it economically viable, which in turn will help enable increased adoption of plant-based protein by conscious customers.
According to a report by Indian Market Research Bureau (IMRB) 93 percent of people are unaware about their daily protein requirements. Another challenge faced by vegetarians is the sheer volume of food that must be consumed in the form of pulses, seeds, nuts and vegetables to fulfil their daily protein intake. Plant-based proteins are a credible source of protein and can be easily incorporated into daily cooking to make home food protein rich.
“The products being offered are protein rich, 100% plant-based, tasty and have ready to cook ingredients. To top it up, they are highly versatile and can be a great addition for someone looking to make their everyday meal protein-rich. The products are also cholesterol free, trans fat free etc. apart from being cruelty free and highly sustainable for the planet, which is the need of the hour. Our products are made using soy protein and available in two variants: Evolved Alt protein is firm but has softer bite which is specifically developed for vegetarians who may not prefer a meaty texture, whereas Evolved Alt Meat aims to give the consumer similar experience as their favourite meat,” says Roma Roy Choudhury and Pradeep Rao, Founders, Evolved Foods. Tipping the Protein Scale
Plant-based proteins are a credible source of protein which can be easily incorporated into daily cooking to make home food protein rich.
Likewise, Bengaluru based food start-up Vegolution’s mission is to offer vegetarian food solutions to bridge the protein gap in India. They recently launched Tempeh in India for the first time under the brand name ‘Hello Tempayy’ to address this very protein gap issue. This is a super bean-based, easy to cook food that can be adapted across cuisines, meal occasions and cooking styles. Tempayy (also known as Tempeh or Tempe) is a delicious, nutritious, wholesome and 100% vegetarian protein-rich food made by fermenting the best quality non-GMO soybeans. “Tempayy is made with a controlled fermentation process and has protein, fibre and good fats. It is also a great food option for diabetics and helps in muscle gain and weight loss,” says Siddharth Ramasubramanian, Founder & CEO Vegolution.
The year 2020 has been a challenging one for each one of us and with the world coming to a standstill, there has been a complete reversal of what was considered to be normal. People now have become more open to trying new things and want to adapt to a healthy lifestyle. And to address this Goa based Wakao Foods decided to use the local superfood Jackfruit as its main ingredient. “We are the first Jackfruit (Vegan) Meat brand in the country. We process Raw Jackfruit into an altogether different avatar, proving the public ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook versions of this superfood. After a year of R&D we have developed a guilt-free Jackfruit product that recreates the texture of meat,” explains Sairaj G. Dhond, Founder and CEO, Wakao Foods.
India is a protein deficient country and there is a need to develop sustainable products that can meet the nutrition requirements of the growing population.
Bollywood actor couple Genelia and Riteish Deshmukh have also announced their entry into this space with Imagine Meats, their plant-based venture. The couple who turned vegetarian, have said that they decided to launch the venture after they attended The Good Food Institute’s Good Food Conference in San Francisco. Plant-based food and diets are the big rediscovery in the health and wellness circuits and products in this space are certainly going to be the gamechanger for vegetarians.