Govt extends support to build a strong plant-based food industry

The plant-based food industry urged the government to support initiatives for regenerative agriculture to promote a sustainable food system and ease production via low-cost and efficient farming techniques
Govt extends support to build a strong plant-based food industry
Govt extends support to build a strong plant-based food industry

It is indeed momentous that MoFPI, APEDA and PBFIA have come together to organise India’s first Plant Based Foods Summit. I am delighted at the grand success of this event with participation from across the stakeholders who are extremely beneficial to us. We are here to bring about a new revolution. Today, we are all gathered here to discuss world-changing ideas. As promised, I will extend my full support to build a strong plant-based food industry in India as it’s of personal interest to me,” Union of Minister of State for Food Processing Industries, Prahlad Singh Patel said while addressing first Plant Based Foods Summit, organised by Plant Based Foods Industry Association (PBFIA) in partnership with Good Food Institute India (GFI India) in New Delhi on Friday. The event was supported by Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Government of India (MoFPI) and Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).

“On the other hand, I also believe everyone is free to make their own choices when it comes to food. Therefore, the focus is not on forcing people to give up their old food choices but on providing them with better plant-based alternatives with no compromise on taste. We have the exact capacity to bring about such a radical shift in the world. By minimising compliance, we can quickly develop this industry. I am urging the need to develop the scientific parameters and supply chains that will allow us to showcase the Indian cuisine culture that has represented us for centuries,” the minister said.

The minister concluded the session with product tasting showcased by over 40 startups in the plant-based food industry such as Kerry, GoodDot, Blue Tribe Foods, Wakao Foods, OneGood among others. The summit also saw participation from ITC India, Unilever, Symrise, Symega, Buhler India, Mother Dairy, Epigamia, Kerry and Roquette.

During the summit, Dr Sudhanshu, Secretary – APEDA released the paper ’The Dawn of a Plant-Based Age – India to lead the way to world food security and nutrition, prepared by PBFIA.

The paper provides insights and an overview of the global plant-based foods market and potential opportunities, which will enable India to lead the way to global food security and nutrition. This PBFIA flagship publication aims to raise awareness among Indian policymakers about the need to support the nascent and expanding plant-based foods sector in India. 

Addressing the summit, Dr Sudhanshu said, “We are all aware that the plant food business is on its way to reaching a significant degree of growth and emphasis, as seen in recent years both internationally and in India. Food is a customer’s choice; it is up to the consumer to decide what he wants to eat. Though awareness is crucial, since it influences the consumer’s decision, and the consumer’s choice determines the market’s demand. Whether it’s a domestic or foreign market, the decision determines the market’s demand.”

“Our country is fortunate to be able to generate everything needed in the food processing and agriculture industries, including labour, raw materials, and expertise. We have a food surplus in all commodities, which is the country’s strength. Because of our strength, we have been able to develop a presence in the worldwide market, which has resulted in a significant alteration in the home market. Because of the abundance of raw materials and personnel, there is a huge potential for investment prospects,” Dr Sudhanshu added.

Speaking at the occasion, Sanjay Sethi, Executive Director – PBFIA said, “We appreciate the guidance and support from Prahlad Singh Patel, and look forward to the opportunity to lead this critical task force to advance the role plant-based foods can play in India and on a global scale. We are extremely overwhelmed with the tremendous response and success of India’s first plant-based food summit organised by PBFIA along with MoFPI, APEDA and GFI.”

“Everyone wants to invest into our plant-based food business in India because they see how quickly it is growing importance and value in the national and worldwide markets. In the sector, there is a link amongst sustainability, nation, health, humanity, and animal welfare. We’ve got a lot of support just by suggesting such an industry, which has the advantage of being a huge draw. Plant-based eating has brought us closer to everyone’s heart and connects us to a larger audience bringing us huge hopes of immense success in promoting an emotion,” Sethi added.

As a pre-cursor to the summit, International Coalition of Plant Based Food Organizations came together in support of global expansion and collaboration. Members of the International Plant Based Foods Working Group convened to plan for an ambitious global strategy. With international momentum for plant-based foods at an all-time high, the IPBFWG’s meeting signaled the start of a new generation of support and international collaboration to bring about a sustainable future where plant-based foods are accessible to all.

Backed by the international community, PBFIA hopes to create a joint task force united by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, APEDA, and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). To achieve crucial goals that will ensure India can capitalise on the exponential potential of the plant-based foods sector. 

Key measures of the task force will be to strengthen attention on local manufacturing and export of value-added products. Support initiatives for regenerative agriculture to promote a sustainable food system and ease production via low-cost and efficient farming techniques. Assist startups on how to use government support and facilitate connections with investors. Establish attainable quality standards, and ascertain efforts to establish cold chain facilities and processing units.

As progress to expand the plant-based food sector in India grows, representatives from the PBFA and IPBFWG look forward to working alongside PBFIA, providing strategic support to bring about a sustainable future where plant-based foods are accessible to all.

This was a unique event in many ways – i) inviting food scientists to collaborate with young startups, ii) cooperation with the Plant Based Foods Association of the USA, with its CEO Rachel Dreskin and Chairperson of the Board Nicole Sopko also participated in the summit and iii) plant-based food startups coming forward to communicate through their product tastings.

The aim of this summit was to offer strategic opportunities to the players in the plant-based food industry and facilitate a platform for networking that elicits conversations surrounding the market size, emerging technologies, existing concerns facing the industry, and contributions leaders in powerful positions can make. The summit facilitated the tasting of plant-based foods products during the conference time as well as in the afternoon business-to-business meetings.

The topics addressed by the speakers included; MoFPI support for plant-based future, regulatory, capacity-building, collaboration, and empowering strategies to ensure that food is healthy for people and the environment, the opportunity for the plant-based ingredients from India, learnings from global market of plant-based food industry, India at the cusp of exponential growth in processed foods exports, the herculean task of plant-based food startups.

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