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Smart Protein Summit 2021

The Good Food Institute India (GFI India), the central expert organization and convening body in the ‘alternative protein’ or ‘smart protein’ sector, kicked off its annual flagship event, The Smart Protein Summit today. The Summit is poised to be the most impactful event for the smart protein ecosystem in India. The summit threw light on how smart protein can impact thee eating habits and environment altogether with speakers like Genelia Deshmukh, Founder Imagine Meats, among various budding entrepreneurs and industry experts.

The summit witnessed speakers like Genelia Deshmukh; Founder Imagine Meets, Rajesh Prasad ; Category leader Amazon India, Dheeraj Talreja ; President AAK, Kees Kruythoff ; Chairman & CEO, LiveKindly Collective, Siddharth Mangharam ; Country General Manager LiveKindly Collective, Gaurav Sharma; Founder & CEO Greenest Foods, Sohil Wazir, Chief Commercial Officer Blue Tribe Foods, Mihir Joshi Category marketing lead, AMETI Baverages & ISC at IFF, Harshil Karia; Founder Schbang at a panel discussion: A springboard for Innnovation: Smart Protein for every plate. These experts gave a deep insight around the current situation of smart protein and how it is going to dwell in the market at a fast pace.

Varun Deshpande, Managing Director, The Good Food Institute India, said, 

“We are at an incredibly exciting time in the world of smart protein – and particularly plant-based foods. Globally, the sector has taken massive strides since it was established only 5 years ago, with start-up companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods scaling all over the world and hitting billions of dollars in valuations, food and conventional meat giants like Nestle, Cargill, and Unilever making investments in or launching their own lines of plant-based meats, and the epicentre of the sector increasingly shifting to Asia in recent years. In India we are finally seeing the sector take off, with new launches and partnerships from exciting brands being announced every week”.

Varun further added,

“We have always viewed our work at GFI India as an opportunity to demonstrate a model for the establishment of smart protein in the developing world. We have a huge promise to drive the space forward and in turn benefit from it globally – and that’s a great thing, because we cannot continue with business as usual. Scarcity and strife in so many forms are an imminent and already present threat – whether it’s malnutrition, food insecurity, climate change, economic fragility, and of course, public health issues like pandemics.

Genelia Deshmukh, Founder Imagine Meats, as a guest speaker in panel discussion at Smart Protein Summit 2021, said,

“Our launch was 2 months ago and we thought we would take a while to go into other cities – but the response was amazing with people asking us when we were entering their cities. We came into 6 cities faster than we expected ourselves. With the kind of response and curiosity we saw it sped up and we’re already planning to launch our next 4 products. The pandemic was a big reason to not be able to be all over – we would have been at a lot of places doing a lot of live events – we couldn’t get plant-based foods to everyone plates. But it’s been so encouraging to see the plant-based industry grow and it’s continuing to grow.

Genelia further added,

“The target is to hit all the QSRs. Once people taste it, they understand it. But till then there will always be a little reservation. The pandemic also brought in awareness around animal meat and the plant-based industry got a lot of eyeballs – so that helped. People thought we need to get more conscious and look at the planet we’ve ruined and acknowledge it. We’re coming closer to what we want to see on everyone’s plate. We want to see it helping the environment, helping animal cruelty. We hope there are lots of companies that come out there and support the industry like us. Innovation is key. At our end, we’re looking at iterations all the time. From version 1 to version 2. We launched with 9 products and are looking at 4 more. Products that consumers are used to. We want people to have something for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks! Taste is also key and we need to get flavours spot on. Being India and being culturally so rich and into spices that helps us dish out a lot of plant-based products. We came out with our brand not being green and redundant. Plant-based meat needs to be the coolest food”. 

The panel discussion focused on how to make smart protein available and accessible to all. The panel saw, various other speakers who shared their views on the topic. The overall process is moving at a phenomenal pace for the smart protein development. One pivotal change is the difference in awareness for consumers. 5 years ago, People tried selling mock meats and struggled to make people understand mock in relation to meat. Today in 2021 – a consumer experiment was run where we offered people ordering chicken burgers with greenest burger patties. Nobody could tell the difference. This way the Smart protein is approaching cities and mega cities today at a very fast pace and people are embracing the changes soon.

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