October 8, 2021
India is well-known for having a large vegetarian population, and . In addition, India offers a wide variety of agricultural products. Two facts that the Indian company BVeg Foods wants to take advantage of by having build the first dedicated plant-based meat facility.
We talked to BVeg Foods Co-Founder Akanksha Ghai about the current state of the venture, the market for plant-based meat, and what kind of partnerships they are currently seeking.
What is BVeg Foods?
BVeg Foods is an innovation-driven sustainable food company venturing into the development and manufacturing of plant-based meat products. We aim to be a trusted enterprise for producing sustainable, high-quality and accessible plant-based foods, that are healthy, delicious and planet-friendly, for our clients and consumers worldwide.
Today, BVeg is well-positioned to be a pioneer in the plant-based ecosystem by setting up India’s first dedicated plant-based meat facility with an extended product line that envision to cater to a vast variety of consumers and their meat preferences. We are creating an integrated center of excellence to provide a complete end-to-end solution – from extrusion to finished products.
We strongly believe that plant-based is the future of food, and we are doing our part to accelerate the incoming revolution.
What makes you unique, especially compared to other producers in India? What products can you develop and produce?
The USP we have not only pertains to the Indian market, but also in the international market as well. BVeg Foods is addressing some major bottlenecks in the plant protein sector such as lack of well-equipped dedicated plant-based meat facilities, highly research, capital and time intensive, limited product offerings and last but not least the pricing and accessibility.
With our upcoming industrial unit, we envision to provide a one-stop-shop solution for these issues by creating a center of excellence for plant-based foods. Our in-house product development and culinary team create an array of products that can be iterated to consumer needs and preferences. With the economies of scale associated with our upcoming industrial unit, we would attempt to achieve better pricing and therefore increasing accessibility for these products without compromising on the taste and quality.
We are bringing in India’s first industrial-scale European twin-screw high moisture extrusion system for plant-based meat which gives textures exactly like chicken, pork, fish, etc. with a capacity of 500 kg/ hr. This tech specializes in whole muscle meat solutions and will allow us to offer a wide array of clean label products to our clients.
The facility will also be well-equipped with downstream equipment which allows for the processing of formed products such as burger patties nuggets, marinated products such as tikkas, hand-folded products such as spring roll, dim sums, center filled products along with a hot kitchen section for specialized Indian recipes such as curries and biryanis.
With our team of culinary experts and food technologists, the industry-specific knowledge and experience that we possess as part of our product development and process departments set us apart.
Our target market is open to every potential individual or organization venturing into the plant-based protein industry. We are catering to both the B2C and B2B segments. Anybody with relevant market access can come to us with a concept, and we can help bring it to life by curating products based on their preferences, scaling them up and manufacturing within our dedicated plant-based facility and white labeling under their brand so that the product is completely market-ready.
What are the next steps for BVeg Foods?
In our attempt to drive India’s growth in the plant-based protein industry, we are working towards backward and forward integration to create a complete farm to fork linkage.
With our Farm-Level integration (FLI) initiative, BVeg will connect directly with farmers to source ingredients produced locally and establish a sustainable sourcing system all over the country. In addition to ensuring fair prices for the crops of the farmers involved in this project, FLI would also initiate farm gate infrastructure development, which would provide employment support at the grassroots level.
As an end-to-end solution provider, anyone looking to venture into this space can come to us with an idea, and we shape it to their needs and preferences to pan out a delicious product. We strive to offer all services be it new product development, ingredient sourcing, manufacturing and private label packaging capabilities all under one roof. We are aiming for International Certifications like BRC, ISO 22000, EU, USDA, SEDEX etc.
Furthermore, we want to help in accelerating the growth of the plant-based protein ecosystem by supporting smaller ventures looking to enter this potential market. The planned production capacity in phase 1 would be approximately 4000 MT per year, whereas the projected capacity of the entire project is approximately 12,000MT.
Eventually, we are also planning to launch our brand in the Indian and international markets. We will hence be positioned as a forward integrated end-to-end solution provider.
The next phase would involve working towards BVeg’s range of indigenous sustainable protein. We are planning to set up our protein extraction unit to get into native proteins like mung bean, chickpea, millets etc. which India is rich in. This will allow us to have complete control over the supply chain model, from farm to fork.
For what kind of partnerships are you currently looking for?
With the in-house capabilities that we are building up, we aim to resolve some key bottlenecks in the plant protein sector. We are open to collaborating with businesses across the globe to co-create and co-develop plant based meats suited to their needs and target markets. Our team puts primary focus on understanding the target customer segment and curating products accordingly, which can then be scaled up and processed in our upcoming world-class facility.
We are also keen on strategic collaborations with like-minded people who can support us to further our vision. Keeping BVeg Foods global vision in mind, we are looking forward to expanding our footprint in the industry and achieving our vision.
Where do you see your company and the market for plant-based meats in five years from now?
The pant-based revolution has taken the world by storm, and yet we have barely scratched the surface of its potential.
By 2035, after alternative proteins reach full parity in taste, texture, and price with conventional animal proteins, 11% of all the meat, seafood, eggs, and dairy eaten around the globe is very likely to be alternative.
Currently, we are focusing on chicken and lamb as the textures. Going forward we would be creating different product categories like seafood which would include products like fillets, crab cakes etc. Five years down the line our idea is to work around indigenous sources of protein which are novel to our country at the same time would help us in achieving the price parity with the conventional meat. By then we are expecting that our capacity would reach up to the projected optimum scale of 12,000 MT, it would help us entail economies of scale whose benefits we pass onto our customers.