Bollywood couple Riteish and Genelia Deshmukh are launching Imagine Meats – a desi rendition of the vegan meat trend that is taking the world by a storm.
The West has stridden ahead in terms of developing outstanding faux meat products, that not only taste like the real thing, one of them even bleeds if you’d want it to.
However, Indians have been having to do with the not-so-good vegan meat alternatives, and most of the common products available in the Indian market are soy-based, which, to say the least, is miles away from the taste of real meat.
Speaking exclusively to Indian Express newspaper, vegetarian couple Genelia and Riteish Deshmukh revealed the launch of Imagine Meats by the end of this year, according to the report. Genelia Deshmukh has been teasing the launch on her Instagram profile for sometimes.
The ‘Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya’ couple said they were already grappling with the idea of delicious plant-based meat alternatives since they ditched meat four years back. It was after a visit to the Good Food Conference in the USA, they realized their ideas have already manifested there.
“That’s when we started working on our idea more and now we’re at the stage where we’re nearing completion,” Genelia said.
Speaking about how the idea to bring the realistic faux meats in India came, Riteish Deshmukh said it was all because of an excellent plant-based ‘keema pav’ or bread with minced meat made by his wife that kickstarted their journey.
“It tasted just like kheema pav and I realized I don’t need meat,” Mr. Deshmukh said. “It was the perfect kheema that I had craved this last 2-3 years.”
And I thought this is it. We started trying to figure out a way to make plant-based meat that would cater to Indian tastes and that’s how the journey began.”
Revealing what we can expect from the couple’s foray into the plant-based meat, they said they would focus on developing their products in tandem with the Indian taste pallet, which is unlike the Western nations where replacing a real-meat burger patty with vegan is most prevalent.
“We have right now teamed up with (American food processing company) ADM. Their in-house food scientists have worked through COVID and the lockdown to develop what we want, which is not the typical taste that they are catering to,” Ritesh said.
Clean eating is the future
In the past few years, saying that the world has shifted to clean eating would be an understatement. Western nations like the US and the UK, along with Scotland, Belgium, Israel, Germany has seen a tremendous spurt in the demand for plant-based meats.
Brands like Impossible Foods, Beyond Meat, and others have ushered the next-gen of plant-based meat-eating, some effortlessly touching the hyperrealistic zones.
In 2018 alone, the global plant-based meat market was valued at $10.10 billion, and it is estimated to touch $30.92 billion by 2026. Israel, UK, and the US have a booming vegan industry.
In India, the vegan scene is confusing, to say the least. The nation is home to the world’s largest population of vegetarians, but veganism is still on a distant shore, as compared to other nations. Dairy and dairy-derived products are an integral part of an Indian’s diet.
In recent days, with the increasing plant-based movement, surcharged by popularity, ethical as well as environmental causes, the number of high-profile vegans has increased. They certainly create an impact on the masses; the like of cricketer Virat Kohli, actor Anushka Sharma, Richa Chadda, Akshay Kumar among others live on a vegan diet. However, the concentration of vegans in India is still low.
(Cover image courtesy of Ritesh Deshmukh fans page via Instagram)