Nestle working on alternate protein products fit for Indian taste

Nestle India is working on developing plant based alternative protein products for the Indian market that would be familiar to Indian taste, culture, and texture. However, the company does not believe in the strategy of substituting dairy protein with plant-based protein as it is socially unethical.
“The whole area of alternate protein and plant-based proteins is a serious mission for Nestle. We have globally 12 Research and Development Accelerator centres that develop plant-based proteins technologies which can be efficaciously rolled out in terms of relevant products. One of them is based in India at Manesar. It is a centre that provides India relevant technologies,” said Suresh Narayanan, chairman Nestle India. He was delivering the keynote address at the Smart Protein Summit organised by Good Food Institute India.
“The question for me is not to create an alternate burger, it is to create a product that is palatable to Indian taste and incidentally gives me my protein requirement,” he added.
Nestle will look at customising products for Indian taste. “For me, creating a burger that has got an almost meat like taste and texture is an opportunity but a larger opportunity for me is to create a protein-based product that will be familiar in terms of taste, culture, texture, because food is very local,” he said. However, Nestle wants to have synergies in both the dairy as well as the alternate protein segment.
“As the world’s biggest milk producer, any strategy that says eliminate milk and substitute with plant-based protein is not going to be a viable strategy, nor even a socially ethical strategy. Helping farmers to have better farming and feed practices are better ways of mitigating the crisis that is upon us rather than elimination,” said Narayanan.
Nestle said it is taking a hard look at greenhouse gas emission reductions from its dairy business. “We are also looking at plant derivatives, like we have done a pea-based drink in Europe, coffee creamers and ice creams that have been launched across some parts of Nestle World,” said Narayanan, adding, “The intention in alternate proteins is not to run farmers to ground nor to eliminate dairy and dairy technology. This is a country of farmers, and we must understand that the existing technology will continue to play a role. The question is not one of elimination but to feed 1.3 billion people.”
The Nestle India head called for setting up of ‘protein clusters’ in the country.
“States like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Punjab are the top producers of pulses as well as milk. We need to create protein clusters between farmers, the government, the research institutions, and private players so that the food processing industries can come around these clusters to develop technologies to create plant-based protein products in the first stage,” he said.
For alternate protein products to be true mass market products, Narayanan said there is need to change the mindset that smart protein is not only for morally conscious people who are aware about global warming but that there is an economic imperative. “The transformation in India in alternate proteins will take place when it becomes mainstream and affordable,” he said.



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