[Tech50] How this foodtech startup is committed to delivering mindful consumption with guilt-free, plant-based meats

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With its disruptive offering of mock meats, The Green Meat, one of YourStory’s Tech50 2021 startups, is all set to take steady steps in the growing plant-based produce market in India, providing consumers sustainable food choices
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While pursuing Executive MBA at the Indian Institute of Management - Kozhikode (IIM-K), Unnikrishnan PG and Dheeraj Mohan bonded over discussions on food and the future of the planet. While Dheeraj was a hardcore meat-eating person, Unnikrishnan, who didn’t consume meat at all, worried about missing out on nutrition. However, both shared concerns about the toll that meat-eating had on the planet as well as its impact on the health of meat-eaters. 

When in 2021, Unnikrishnan and Dheeraj launched their venture The Green Meat, they were driven by the commitment to provide a guilt-free alternative to meat-eaters who could still continue to relish the taste of meat through plant sources. 

"We are flexitarians and ventured together to come up with The Green Meat, the guilt-free plant-based meat that’s unapologetically tempting and eco-friendly at the same time. We met and teamed up at IIM-Kozhikode Live a few years back and developed The Green Meat so that you, like us, can indulge in your favourite non-vegetarian delicacies without having to worry about the taste, health and environmental impacts," share the co-founders of the Kochi-based foodtech startup, which is also one of YourStory’s Tech50 2021 most promising bootstrapped startups

While Unnikrishnan is the CEO and Co-founder at The Green Meat, and specialises in Project Management and Entrepreneurship, Dheeraj is the COO and Co-founder at The Green Meat, who specialises in Industrial Automation and Process Control for Manufacturing. While Unnikrishnan swears by flavourful cuisines, Dheeraj is self-admittedly a foodie at heart. 

The sustainable substitute 

The Green Meat’s products are unique sustainable plant-based meat substitutes that are delivered as preservative-free frozen chunks, providing a buying and consumption experience that is closest to animal meat. The business-to-consumer (B2C) startup has partnered with the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CSIR–CFTRI), Mysore for the research and development (R&D) of the product and technology. The USP of The Green Meat is that it’s perfect for the Indian style of cooking. 

Greenovative Foods Pvt Ltd, which runs and owns The Green Meat™, uses an efficient texturisation technology to create a preservative-free and 100 percent plant-based meat substitute. 

The manufacturing process begins with ingredient selection and formulation, protein concentration, and mixing, followed by a thermo-mechanical process to texturise and functionalise plant-based raw materials and convert them into a form equivalent to animal meat.

The company says its plant-based meat has similar protein and nutritional content as animal meat, and yet has no trans-fats, no cholesterol, no antibiotics, and no hormones, but instead contains healthy dietary fibres. The startup is in the pre-revenue stage and is being incubated at IIM-Kozhikode and KRIBS-BioNest. 

The Green Meat foodmap 

The alternative meat startup aims to focus on its home state, Kerala, for its ongoing first phase. In the second phase, it aims to scale up massively and target the entire South Indian market. By 2025, The Green Meat wants to enter phase three – make its presence felt across India – and also make an entry into select overseas markets. Before that, the company expects to turn cash-flow positive, and apply for patents for the process and technology presently under development. 

The future of a ‘humane’ diet 

According to a 2021 YourStory article titled Plant-based alternatives: an industry teeming with the potential to be the next big thing, the plant-based product market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.48 percent during the forecasted year 2021-2026. As the increasing vegetarian population of India grows, the market growth is expected to bolster over the next few years. 

With growing concerns over the guilt of mindless consumption and a conscientious shift towards a sustainable way of life, the tribe of ‘flexitarians’’, loosely denoting people choosing cruelty-free consumption, is expected to make a stronger imprint. With innovative technological disruption and an ethical messaging tied to its core offering, The Green Meat is likely to see green pastures. 

Edited by Anju Narayanan

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