In a fast-growing market that has demonstrated an appetite for homegrown plant-based brands, Bengaluru-based Sudo Foods has launched plant-based chicken samosas, chicken seekh kebabs, chicken popcorn, and mutton galouti kebabs. The plant-based startup’s ethos is to ‘unjunk’ packaged food and offer kind alternatives to India’s vast non-vegetarian population.
With four products out on the market and a fifth (plant-based chicken burger patty) in the pipeline, Sudo Foods is redefining plant-based snacking. The founders, Abhinav Chawla and Sadhika Agarwal, believe in using fresh, natural, and ethical ingredients - plant-based sources like seitan and soya with zero preservatives, zero cholesterol, and zero trans fats. The clean label aims to make plant-based meat healthier, tastier, and more convenient. Their ready-to-cook products can be served up in under 10 minutes and are currently retailing via D2C and B2C channels.
The startup has been operating in stealth mode over the last year as they developed their products to perfection, and has now launched across Bengaluru via the Sudo Foods website and on retailing platforms like VeganDukan and NotFoods. The brand will soon be listed on popular marketplaces as well.
With the addition of new plant-based startups like Sudo Foods, we’re moving closer to our goal of transforming the way that food - and our protein in particular - is produced and consumed around the world. In India there are now more than 50 smart protein companies active, and with brands like Sudo Foods joining these ranks, the market is poised for further growth. India is becoming an increasingly lucrative market for plant-based meat startups, with a large population of non-vegetarians looking to cut down their meat consumption due to a combination of concerns like sustainability and health. Contrary to popular opinion, 77% of Indians self-identify as non-vegetarians as per the latest National Family Health Survey - NFHS 5. The Indian market is ripe for transformation, with consumers looking towards plant-based alternatives for a simple switch, without giving up the delicious appeal of meat.
Research from expert nonprofit Good Food Institute India found that 63% of Indian consumers are very or extremely likely to purchase plant-based meat in a cross-country consumer acceptance study. This response from consumers - most of whom are currently ‘early adopters’ of plant-based meat - compared favorably with the U.S. and China. Among this early adopter cohort are the founders of Sudo Foods themselves - Abhinav and Sadhika. The idea behind Sudo’s offerings came about when they decided to stop eating meat a few years ago, concerned about their carbon footprints and the industrial animal agriculture industry.
Talking about the brand’s raison d’etre, Abhinav Chawla, co-founder, Sudo Foods, former investment banker and IIT Roorkee alum said, “After I gave up eating meat, I missed its taste and texture and couldn’t find an alternative butter chicken or tikka or kebab that wowed me. Until we decided to create one.” Adding on to how they went from an idea to a product, Sadhika Agarwal, Co-Founder, Sudo Foods and former investment banker said, “A couple of months from the genesis of the idea, we started experimenting in our kitchen. We were clear we wanted to solve for taste, nutrition, and convenience - all while upholding food ethics. So, we decided to make plant-based foods like kebabs for the Indian palate, made without any preservatives or chemicals. Our products are made from fresh and natural ingredients, and don’t taste like packaged food!”
Experts at GFI India are working closely with plant-based startups like Sudo Foods towards improving and optimizing their products. GFI India’s senior Innovation Specialist Nicole Rocque said, “Improving taste, price, and convenience is the holy grail when it comes to plant-based meat, but globally and in India as well, we’ve seen that consumers are choosing these foods for reasons of personal health and nutrition. A majority of conscious consumers will pay attention to the labeling on plant-based products - checking both the front and the back to examine ingredient lists, protein content, and other nutritional information. Plant-based meats generally have fewer calories and less saturated fat. They contain zero cholesterol and almost always contain fiber. It’s fantastic to see startups like Sudo Foods recognizing that health is an important factor that determines the acceptance and uptake of plant-based meats. This could help them carve out a niche in the plant-based market in India.”