Hello Tempayy offers tasty protein-rich and gut-friendly vegetarian food options

A conscious food venture that addresses the nutrition gap in the Indian vegetarian diet
Siddharth Ramasubramanian, founder and chief executive officer of Vegolution India with Hello Tempayy products
Siddharth Ramasubramanian, founder and chief executive officer of Vegolution India with Hello Tempayy products

Bengaluru-based food start-up Vegolution was founded by Siddharth Ramasubramanian, a seasoned hotelier with over two decades of experience and Los Angeles-based Rajit Malhotra, an investor in the food tech and wellness space. They launched a ready-to-cook brand, Hello Tempayy in March 2021, under the Vegolution portfolio.

Talking about the products offered by the company, Siddharth Ramasubramanian, founder and chief executive officer, Vegolution India said, “Hello Tempayy offers a versatile new vegetarian food option that’s rich in protein. It addresses a large gap in the market when it comes to consumers’ daily requirement for protein. The brand is currently available in six variants: Natural, Spicy Peri Peri, Simply Sriracha, Peppery Szechuan Chilli, Roasted Chettinad and Spiced Tawa Masala and is priced between Rs 145 and Rs 165 for 200 gm packs.”

Explaining the USP of Tempeh, he added, “The marinated variants are a USP of the product because Tempeh absorbs flavors, unlike paneer and tofu. It can be used to make curries, stir-fries, rolls, salads and so much more. Plus, it is packed with protein, fiber, and good fats, giving vegetarians, fitness enthusiasts, and conscious foodies a delicious, nutritious, healthy, plant-based, protein-rich food.”

Fermentation and fortification for added benefits

Ramasubramanian informed us that Hello Tempayy produces Tempayy in India using an innovative fermentation technology adapted specifically for India. He added, “We also fortify our products with Iron and Vitamin B-12, something that is very rare for ready-to-cook products in India. We have also formulated wet marinades that work perfectly with Tempeh and are not commonly seen worldwide. The ready-to-cook variants have spices and condiments used in every kitchen with no additives or preservatives.”

Aiming to fill the protein gap in the Indian diet

Explaining the results from their market study, Ramasubramanian said, “Our initial study on the market and the food habits of the modern Indian consumer showed us that the vegetarian meal moments, far exceed the non-vegetarian meal moments. Consumers, especially vegetarians struggle to have enough protein in their diet as per mandated daily requirements. This is what drove us to launch a new and adaptable 100% vegetarian protein-rich ready-to-cook ingredient called Tempeh, under the brand name Hello Tempayy, that easily fits into modern Indian kitchens in tasty ready-to-cook formats.”

He added, “Apart from lack of variety there is also a glaring nutrition gap, especially protein. Data from the Indian Dietetic Association (IDA) in 2018 indicates that at least 84% of Indians are protein deficient, which leads to associated health conditions while a considerable 80 percent remain unaware of their daily protein requirements.”

When asked about why he chose soybean as an ingredient in their products, he said, “Soybean is the key ingredient in our products because it is known to have a high biological value plant protein and tempeh, which is made by fermenting soybeans is more bioavailable which provides optimal protein. Hence Tempeh made by fermenting soybean is a great addition to fill the protein gap.” He added, “Soybean Tempayy is rich in fiber, low in saturated fats and carbs while being gut-friendly. This a very rare combination that ticks all the boxes.”

Growth and competition

Ramasubramanian excitedly talked about the growth of Hello Tempayy and said, “We have seen an almost instant and incredible response to Hello Tempayy products since we first launched in early 2021. We grew from one city to eight cities in just over 18 months and that bears testament to the adaptability and potential for tempeh in India. We are delivering month-on-month growth across markets and have seen a 7X growth in unit sales year over year. The early indicators are very positive as consumers are buying our products as part of their weekly/monthly grocery basket. It is priced at par with good quality paneer and that is an important aspect of encouraging trial and adoption”

He further added, “We are currently the only large-scale Tempayy makers in the country. We encourage competition as this is a new product category that is only growing. Over the last year, we have established product-market fit and firmly believe that India has a very large addressable market. As a result, we deployed our resources on India-specific product R&D and development, flavor profiling, and consumer trials. We were in constant dialogue with nutritionists during the development of the product.”

The nutritional breakdown

Ramasubramanian believes that in a country where the majority of meal moments are vegetarian, the traditional Indian diet offers very little variety when it comes to protein options. Consumers are now feeling the gap and beginning to look for options. The nutritional breakdown of Hello Tempayy includes-

Three main ingredients: Non-GMO soybeans, water and culture

  • 19g of complete protein per 100g of Tempayy

  • Low in saturated fat / Zero Cholesterol / No Trans fat

  • Low Carb / High Fibre

  • Fortified with Iron and B-12

  • Gut-friendly

  • Fun and easy to cook

Insights into the future

Sharing the company’s future plans, Ramasubramanian told us that in the B2C vertical, Hello Tempayy plans to build out its geographic footprint (25 cities by mid-2023) via digital commerce followed by a scale-up in offline retail (250 stores currently to over 1,000 stores in 2023). He further added, “We are seeing growing demand from the HORECA segment as awareness is rising about Tempayy. We expect to be available in over 250 hotels, restaurants, and cafes, not including national chains, by end of 2023.”

Commenting on the potential of the sector, he said, “The vegetarian protein food trend will not be limited to metros and tier 1 cities alone. Today’s conscious food consumers and health/fitness enthusiasts are not limited to the major urban centers. The millennial consumer and all the other cohorts they influence will shape the future of protein foods, so its acceptance and adoption will be much faster.”

Hello Tempayy products are available on their website and select e-commerce platforms like Amazon, and Big Basket and in over 250 select stores across Bengaluru, Chennai, Coimbatore, Kochi, Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad. The brand has recently launched in Delhi, Gurugram, Noida and Ahmedabad across all e-commerce channels. It also has a B2B presence in the HORECA segment and is present in over 50 restaurant menus.

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