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  • Eat your meat without any guilt: Actress and Social Entrepreneur Genelia Deshmukh-Founder, Imagine Meats

    Published on October 6, 2021

    79% of millennials in the USA have tried alternative proteins: Mr Gautam Godhwani- Managing Partner, Good Protein Fund

    Alternative meat products, innovations in seafood, even in pet foods will be the future: Gautam Godhwani

    I am a happy vegetarian. Though I was a non-vegetarian, I became vegetarian 5/6 years back and I am very happy about it said Actress and Social Entrepreneur Ms Genelia Deshmukh- Founder, Imagine Meats while participating in a panel discussion organised on day three on Wednesday as part of the ongoing TiE Sustainability Summit 2021, where entrepreneurship meets the sustainability.

    Participating in the “Meatless Meat-Startups are Changing the Food Industry & Saving the World” as one of the three panellists Ms. Genelia made this observation. My husband Ritesh had a craving for meat. We tried alternative meat products. And we were happy about it. When we moved to India we thought why not such an alternative meat is made available here. That is how I got into Imagine Meats. We have nurtured a dream to work towards food choices that are good for us, the public, animals and the planet. 

    After countless reworks over the last three years with our food scientists from America and Germany, we came with the final product. And a product like this, meatless meat was launched on Ganesh Chaturthi. Normally people avoid eating non-vegetarian food during festival time. Now they can eat meat on the eve of festivals without having guilt, she said. 

    The panel discussion was moderated by Mr Abhijit Banerjee- Managing Partner- StratCap Corporate Advisors LLP. 

    Several ingredients like plant-based proteins, soy, potato, pea, mung bean protein and even rice protein are used to make meatless meat. These ingredients when combined with other ingredients give the perfect chewy texture and juiciness to the vegetarian meat as well.

    Mr Gautam Godhwani- Managing Partner, Good Protein Fund said nearly 20% of the world population is vegetarians.

    A large portion of the world population is non-vegetarians. Every year, more than 9 billion animals in the US are raised and killed on factory farms. This affects the animal kingdom and the planet.

    More and more are now conscious of the environmental impact of eating meat. For example, 79% of millennials in the USA have tried alternative proteins.  Meat looking meat is now a popular choice. It is on the rise. 

    In just one year, plant-based meat went from something very few Americans had heard of to something that 40 percent of us have tried.  The USA and Singapore are advanced markets. And the space is changing rapidly, he informed

    Mr. Harish Jadwani- Promoter, Ahimsa foods, which produces and supplies plant-based meat products, said India being price-sensitive country, the meatless meat products have to have price compatibility. They have to match the local prices. Though prices may be a little higher side in the beginning but could come down in few years as it becomes popular and more and more people start consuming these alternative meats

    My kids are more socially conscious. They are concerned about nature and its resources. I have seen an energy inflow of 3 fold since I left eating non-vegetarian. India is a protein deficiency nation. So we add meat or egg as a supplement to proteins. When you eat alternative meat it meets your protein requirement. Another big benefit is it is cholesterol-free. 

    Eating quality plant-based food lowers the risk of death by 30%. A plant-based diet reduces the risk of death from heart disease by 40%.

    It almost tastes the same. The acceptance of this product is a big challenge. As more and more media highlights it will have many takers, the hardcore meat eaters may shift. The awareness for these products is very good in the west, informed Genelia. 

    Adds Gautam, the Covid-19 was an eye-opener for many to shift to meatless meat products. Now people are looking for alternative meats. Consumers saw that covid came from animals. So they were more careful about their food preferences. 

    The government policies and actions will help push these products in India, said Genelia. The primary shift has to come from the Government, added Mr Gautam. The Government has to formulate a policy on it. Few companies in this space have already become unicorns.

    They include Impossible Foods, a food technology company that makes delicious, nutritious plant-based alternatives of meat, dairy and fish. And another one is EAT JUST is inspiring a global shift in perception towards veganism and plant-based foods. This shows public mood and preferences towards alternative meat products. 

    The panellists felt that the meatless food industry featuring lab-grown meat, seafood substitutes, lab-grown alternatives to seafood is going to be the future of the food industry. Covid 19 disrupted the traditional supply chain. Food biggies, giants, food tech startups are working to navigate a future where protein isn’t dominated by conventional meat sources. 30% of the calories consumed globally by humans come from meat products. This is likely to change in the near future. 

    Mr Gautam predicted that there would be a massive shift in our food system in the next 30 years. Alternative meat products, innovations in seafood, innovations in pet foods and food for better human and planet health will be the future. 

    Meat products made from plants that are meant to taste like meat can be marketed to meat-eating customers, and replace some of those customers’ meat purchases, the panellists felt.

    The moderator concluded that scientific evidence proved that alternative proteins are good for human health and planet health. 

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