Celebrity Indian couple backs Indian startup Blue Tribe Foods

14 Feb 2022

A sign of the growing popularity of plant-based foods in India, Bollywood star Anushka Sharma and her cricketer husmand have joined the startup Blue Tribe Foods' board of investors. "Without short-changing our taste buds, there is potential for a planet-changing impact," says Sharma.

Indian startup Blue Tribe Foods has brought Bollywood star Anushka Sharma and her husband cricket competitor Virat Kohli onto its board as investors and brand ambassadors. The vegetarian couple has a combined 240 million Instagram followers and are vocal advocates of a meat-free lifestyle.

Celebrity Indian couple backs Indian startup Blue Tribe Foods
Courtesy of Blue Tribe Foods

"At the end of the day, I'm a foodie too. I want to enjoy the kind of food I love without leaving a huge carbon footprint. I know a lot of people feel the same way. This is why I believe if we can have a lower dependence on meat, without short-changing our taste buds, there is potential for a planet-changing impact. This is where Blue Tribe is proving to be a gamechanger, striking a perfect balance between food that's really tasty and good for the planet." Virat Kohli said in a statement. According to Blue Tribe Foods, which is supported by the Good Food Institute India, 60% of people in India are non-vegetarian. Irish ingredients group Kerry identified the nation as a source of growth for the plant-based protein category. The study found that 63% of Indian shoppers are willing to purchase plant-based products regularly.

This willingness to shop for plant-based protein bodes well for startups like Blue Tribe that produce regional dishes such as keema, chicken and its recently-released sausage products. According to data from the Good Food Institute India, global smart proteins — which includes plant-based products, fermented products and cultivated meats — are growing rapidly, but India still remains behind other nations. Nevertheless, Kerry data shows that the alternative meat market at large is gaining steam and is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 8.5% by 2025 from its current market value of $171 million.

Alternative protein startups are a growing segment in India, in part because of the varied protein options that are readily available in the country. India has a high level of agricultural biodiversity and is a key producer of agro-commodities like millet, hemp and pulses which lend themselves to be repurposed into products such as plant-based milk, eggs and meat.

Already, there are a few well-known alt-protein startups coming out of the subcontinent, including GoodDot Foods and Imagine Meats.

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