Bollywood couple Riteish & Genelia Deshmukh today announced the official launch of their plant-based meat startup Imagine Meats in Mumbai.
The much-awaited launch is timed to coincide with Ganesh Chaturthi in order to cater to those who want to indulge while remaining vegetarian during this festive season.
Imagine Meats aims to offer consumers plant-based meat alternatives “perfectly replicating the dishes they crave, without the guilt”.
The company had partnered with Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM), the global food processing corporation, in 2020, to leverage the latter’s portfolio of protein ingredients and applications labs to replicate meat-based traditional Indian dishes.
In an interview with FoodIngredientsFirst, Sanjay Laud, Managing Director at ADM Nutrition (India), had revealed that the initial focus for Imagine Meats is India, and the company will eventually look at other markets such as the US, Canada, UK and UAE.
Imagine Meats products are currently available on the company website and also at Nature’s Basket and Reliance Retail stores in Mumbai. The range includes, keemas, kebabs, nuggets, burgers, and biryanis in plant-based chicken and mutton varieties.
On the launch, Genelia Deshmukh said, “Imagine Meats is our labour of love, allowing people to upgrade their meat and eat without guilt in line with their values. After many months of anticipation, we are delighted to launch in Mumbai and look forward to bringing delicious plant-based meats to every plate!”
Riteish Deshmukh said, “As a former carnivore, I know that millions like me are looking for a solution to their meat cravings. We spent years looking for the perfect fix, until we decided to make it ourselves – and we’ve worked for over 2 years to make this a reality. With our wide range of craveable plant-based meats, we want to enable everybody to Imagine Meat.”
Plant-based meats are a next generation food innovation made entirely from plant ingredients such as pea protein and coconut oil, but which perfectly replicate the taste, smell, and sizzle of animal meat.
They go far beyond the traditional soya nuggets or mock meats, and therefore offer non-vegetarians a simple switch, which is far better for the environment in terms of water and energy use, and greenhouse gas emissions. These are also a solution to prevent public health risk from the outbreak of zoonotic diseases such as swine flu and avian flu.
Meat alternatives are particularly important in countries like India, where meat consumption is expected to rise radically over the next decades with rising incomes. The Government of India’s policy think tank NITI Aayog has identified that many Indian cities will run out of water by 2030 and climate resilience is an existential need for the country.
Globally, the sector is growing extremely rapidly, with several companies scaling to billions of dollars in size and even being listed on stock exchanges.
Data from the Good Food Institute India shows that $3.1 billion was invested in the smart protein sector globally in 2020, up 3x from the year prior as enthusiasm and demand for sustainable and secure protein supply chains deepened during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The launch of Imagine Meats can lay the groundwork of similar success in India. Varun Deshpande, Managing Director at the Good Food Institute India, said, “The clock is ticking on climate change, food and water insecurity, and public health crises like future pandemics. Plant-based meats offer huge promise to provide consumers and producers with a simple switch rather than a sacrifice, and the launch of Imagine Meats is an exciting development towards making this a reality and helping the Indian market for smart protein truly take off.”
The company will launch their products through additional channels in coming months beyond this exciting launch, and consumers can expect to see even more on the different dishes, and partnerships in the near future.