The 'Plant-Based Navratri' campaign organized by the Plant-Based Foods Industry Association (PBFIA) received an overwhelming response from several food companies. These companies were invited to join PBFIA at 2 major food events in Mumbai - the 14th Edition of "FICCI FOODWORLD INDIA" and the 15th edition of Annapoorna - ANUFOOD India jointly organized by FICCI and Koelnmesse, both providing a huge platform for the food industry to network and display their products & services.
The plant-based ‘Big Debate’ was moderated by Sanjay Sethi, executive director, Plant-Based Foods Industry Association (PBFIA) at Annapoorna - ANUFOOD India, NESCO, Goregaon. The eminent panelists included Gopal Chakarapani, country manager at Innova Market Insights, the host of the debate, Amit Kher, national manager – sales & technology at Buhler Group India, Shraddha Bhansali, co-founder and COO of Evo Foods, Chandani Panvanda, business development manager at Symrise, Jasmine Bharucha, founder of Katharos Foods, Jinesh Shah, chief investor officer of Ahimsa VC and Dipan Dalal, business director, Food and Health at Azelis.
The event also witnessed participation from members of plant-based foods industry such as Shaka Harry, ProMeat and BVeg. They displayed how the plant-based foods industry is evolving, with the first three companies offering plant-based kebabs, nuggets, and more. SV Agri Processing, another PBFIA member displayed processing equipment for potato-based and other western and Indian traditional snacks. The companies received real-time feedback from the crowd, which was eager to try these innovative products.
Pushing the plant-based agenda ahead
Talking about the reason behind plant-based foods gaining importance, Sanjay Sethi, executive director, PBFIA, said, “One of the primary motivations for individuals to push the plant-based foods agenda ahead were ethical issues. ; as consumer awareness grew, it also added the health element to it, and now, the young generation is paving the way as they become more aware of the environmental impact and want to make providing a level playing field and how we must turn what appears to be a disadvantage into a strategic advantage by focusing on our strengths, for instance, by reducing logistics cost through liquid eggs or evaporated milk.”
Gopal Chakarapani of Innova Market Insights, highlighted how the Beyond Meat IPO in 2019 propelled the plant-based industry into the spotlight, and how interest and awareness are rising in India as well. “To take full advantage of this fantastic opportunity, we must perfect the aroma, sight, taste, texture, and nutrition,” he said. Mr. Amit Kher emphasized the retention of nutrition, the need to control the process, and knowing what goes into the process to retain the ingredients as they are and provide better end products.
Shraddha Bhansali of Evo Foods, talked about India being an innovation-based market for plant-based foods as of now. So, while they’re trying to develop products for the market, they also understand they are building for the future when with scale, the costs can come down and price parity will be achieved.
Sharing her technical expertise, Chandani Panvanda of Symrise discussed the concept of starting with creating the rightly flavored product by starting with a blank canvas and then defining it. She then elaborated on how to first add the maskers, and optimizer, create the umami flavor and then add the top note.
Jasmine Bharucha of Katharos, discussed the extensive research being conducted throughout the world to create plant-based casein. The plant-based product can be used to manufacture plant-based cheese equivalent to animal-based cheese. She also mentioned how, following COVID, people are more aware of their health and environmental effects, which can be addressed with plant-based foods.
PBFIA is an apex CEO-led body, working to develop the next generation of business leaders by providing them with opportunities to gauge their progress toward long-term company success. We aim to be a dependable and ambitious organization that functions as a thought leader providing a cohesive voice to the industry in policy advocacy, supply chain, innovation, and investment. Through strategic partnerships, cultivating thought leadership, and engaging in policy advocacy, PBFIA is supporting the development of a strong ecosystem in India. Additionally, it seeks to provide member organizations with mentoring and investment possibilities.