In the latest advancement in India’s smart protein sector, Tata Consumer Goods has launched its own brand of plant-based meats. Tata Consumer Products (TCPL, a USD 9 billion giant and one of India’s leading FMCG players) has begun selling their new ‘TATA Simply Better' line of plant-based meats across India through their store on Amazon Prime and Flipkart! This nationwide launch of plant-based meats, from a company that is strongly committed to delivering better nutrition to their consumers, is a significant milestone in India’s smart protein story.
Smart protein - also referred to as alternative protein globally - focuses on pioneering foods that are viable alternatives to animal-derived meat, eggs, dairy, and seafood. And plant-based meats are at the forefront of smart protein. Today’s plant-based meats go far beyond the previous generation of soya nuggets to provide meat eaters with a simple switch, not a sacrifice.
Speaking about the launch, Varun Deshpande, managing director at expert smart protein nonprofit Good Food Institute India, says, “The Tata brand is synonymous with trust and India's multicultural heritage - which makes them perfectly placed to take plant-based meats to India's true mass market. Tata Consumer Products has a reach of over 200 million households, and an avowed focus on health and nutrition. Protein is being carved out as a key area within this strategy, and with the growing demand for delicious, sustainable plant-based meats available across the length and breadth of the country, the launch of TATA Simply Better could help unlock huge potential in a multi-billion dollar category over the next decade.”
Tata Consumer Products is home to beloved brands like Tata Tea, Himalayan Water, and Tata Salt, and their entry into the plant-based sector is a true validation of the fact that 2021-22 is plant-based protein’s breakout moment in India. Over the last year, a host of smart protein startups launched and at last count, the market has 200+ plant-based meat, egg, dairy products available from 40+ companies (as per GFI India’s startup database). TCPL’s joining these ranks reinforces that momentum.
But even while plant-based protein is becoming increasingly ubiquitous in India, truly valid market tests are still a challenge. Consumer goods' primary challenge in India has always been the true mass market - for shampoos, apparel, and now smart protein. GFI India research shows that even early-adopter consumers find fundamental improvements in taste, price, and availability are required - the lack of which are barriers to eating plant-based meat regularly. With plant-based meats launching across India under the TCPL brand, at industry-competitive price points of INR 300-350 and further discounts on Amazon Prime, this could stand to change. TCPL, which recently approved a restructuring creating a 'future ready organization', reaches over 200 million households and knows how to get food to Indian plates everywhere. The Tata group is synonymous with consumer trust and India's multicultural heritage, and is highly diversified - which means potential future investments to localize the plant protein supply chain, improve products further, and drop cost basis, all benefiting Indian economy and farmers, increasing access, and pushing the sector forward globally in its fundamental infrastructure needs.
The plant-based products within the TATA Simply Better brand include a mix of dishes designed for both the Indian palate as well as for consumers wanting to snack like their global counterparts. These snacks range from traditional Awadhi Seekh Kebabs to popular options like Plant-Based Chicken Nuggets, Plant-Based Spicy Chicken Fingers, and Plant-Based Chicken Burger Patties. Loaded with protein, these plant-based products are cholesterol and trans-fat-free with no added preservatives while retaining the fabulous chicken-like taste, texture, crunch, and juiciness of chicken. These snacks are Ready-To-Cook and can be stored conveniently at both room temperature and in refrigerators - in a bid to make switching to plant-based meat easier than ever.
TATA Simply Better line has been developed with support from key ingredient partners like multinational Kerry Ingredients, a testament to the growth in the Indian ecosystem of support for smart protein. Deep product development, positioning, & manufacturing expertise from the likes of Kerry Ingredients is critical to rapid product development and iteration in a fast-moving new category. Pratichee Kapoor, Director of Big Bets: Middle East, Indian Subcontinent & Africa at Kerry says, “This space carries a lot of potential. Involvement by an established & a credible brand like Tata Consumer Products is a validation of plant-based meat’s potential. This is just the beginning - on behalf of Kerry, we’re incredibly proud to have been part of this journey.”
Tata Group has a legacy of bringing nutrition to hundreds of millions, particularly with iodized salt. TCPL has a clear-eyed focus on building on this heritage. With further growth and improvement, plant-based meats could be a key pillar of that story.