New Delhi: Supporting the shift of Indian consumers towards plant-based living with a growing emphasis on health and nutrition, The Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) has launched ‘THE PLANT FACTOR’ – A Food Innovation Challenge, to extend their backing to the tune of INR 20 Lakh for the right plant-based alternatives for meat products. Applications are now open for this challenge for Indian plant-based start-ups, entrepreneurs, businesses, restaurants, researchers, and students.
Welcoming applications to this unique challenge, Executive Director-FIAPO, Varda Mehrotra said, “A kilogram of meat is about 30 times more demanding on the environment in terms of water, greenhouse gas emissions, than a kilogram of plant protein. There are about FIVE AND A HALF THOUSAND varieties of plants and grains, vegetables and fruits that are edible…yet we concentrate on such a narrow selection. India, specifically has a whole host of recipes of all that can be cooked from plants alone with NO compromise on an individual’s health whatsoever. People are recognising the need, ease of accessibility and great taste of Plant-Based Nutrition, so much so, that in some countries even popular non-vegetarian fast-food giants like Nando’s, Burger King, McDonalds, etc. are introducing the ‘Vegan Burger’- such is the demand for Plant-Based nutrition!”
In order to participate in The Plant Factor Challenge, all applicants are required to have/create a ready-to-market, completely plant-based (non-animal ingredients like mushrooms are acceptable) functional food product. The product must also have a stable shelf life, a comparable taste (as well as texture) and a nutritional profile similar to that of meat – as is expected of a product aiming to be a viable replacement. The winning product stands to win 10 Lakh INR, with first and second runner-ups also winning 7 Lakh and 3 Lakh respectively. The money awarded is intended as a seed grant to help scale the production and/or Go to Market strategies for the product(s) in question.
Applications for this challenge opened on 4th September 2020; and are expected to close on 2nd October 2020. Pending review by the internal selection committee, the shortlisting of the top 8 to 10 applications is expected to conclude by 19th October 2020, culminating in the grand finale on 19th February 2021. The selected participants will receive training, mentoring, financial and networking support from India’s top food and business experts. In the final round, teams will present their products to a panel of esteemed judges, and it will then be evaluated on the basis of taste/texture and market readiness. They will also be given access to promotions through FIAPO’s flagship programs, which embrace grassroots activism, corporate outreach, and targeted marketing and awareness campaigns.
Indian audiences are regularly looking to find newer ways to consume cruelty free protein, as is evident by the recent Google Trends report which reveals 63% of Indians wanting to try plant-based meat substitutes. There is a collective interest in sustaining a more varied, versatile green diet like never before. More Indians are reading about vegetarianism over the last 6 months. Plant-based diets offer the most sustainable solution to issues of human health problems, environmental degradation, ethical issues and of course, climate change. Emerging antimicrobial resistance (AMR) due to animal based products also looms as a constant threat – unless the world rapidly transitions into a plant-based lifestyle.
More details on the challenge at: https://theplantfactor.in/