Following Jubilant FoodWorks Ltd foray into plant-based meat in December 2020, with the launch of the Domino’s ‘Unthinkable Pizza’ with 100 per cent plant-based protein mince, Jubilant Ingrevia Ltd – a global integrated life sciences products and innovative solutions provider part of the Jubilant Bhartia Group – has reported an investment of Rs 4,25,00,000 (USD 570,000) in Indian plant-based meat startup Mister Veg Foods Pvt Ltd.
The sector of plant-based meats is soaring globally, with research from the global non-profit network Good Food Institute showing $2.1 billion in investments in 2020 – three times as much as in 2019 – due to growing appetite for climate-friendly investments with returns beyond the bottom line. Plant-based meat alternatives are aimed at delivering the taste of meat without the guilt of its environmental or public health impact.
These products are meant to replicate the sensory and cultural experience of meat but are made from plant or crop ingredients like pea protein, coconut oil, and beetroot juice – thereby saving huge quantities of land and water and vastly reducing the greenhouse gas impact of meat production. Asia Pacific is the fastest-growing region globally, with an estimated 25 per cent increase in the market size for plant-based meat to US$1.7 billion over the next five years in APAC.
In India, the sector is picking up steam, with several entrepreneurs working on bringing plant-based meats to market including Riteish and Genelia Deshmukh’s Imagine Meats and Alkem Labs MD Sandeep Singh’s Blue Tribe Foods. The product offerings include shelf-stable plant-based meat and plant-based seafood ready-to-eat meals, and have been available pan-India since April 2019. Consumer research from the Good Food Institute India reveals that the category could find broad acceptance with consumers in India, with 62.8 per cent of Indian consumers being very likely to regularly buy plant-based meats but only if they are able to match the taste of conventionally produced meats like chicken and mutton.
Varun Deshpande, managing director, Good Food Institute India, said, "Statements of intent like Jubilant Group’s are the clearest sign yet that the Indian smart protein ecosystem is on the verge of taking off. Plant-based meats have transformative potential for human and planetary health, and large corporations and QSRs like Jubilant Group/Domino’s can help bring this innovation to the mass market in the form of the delicious foods we know and love. We believe they should be lauded for taking bold steps in plant-based meat with these investments, and look forward to continuing to support their forays in the space."