Naka Foods: the future of meat in India
Naka Foods is a plant-based food company from India that is developing a range of chicken alternatives for the Indian and Asian markets. The startup was founded by Kushal Aradhya, who is part of the current cohort at the ProVeg Incubator. This is the Naka Foods story.
What does your startup do and what is your mission?
Kushal: Naka Food is developing superfood-based products, mostly to replace products that currently exist, but with more sustainable, healthier alternatives. We use high-quality, naturally derived ingredients in order to create food products that are nutritious and tasty.
The first product developed by Naka Foods was an algae-derived snack bar, which provides a healthier alternative to other options on the market. For our second product, we are developing plant-based chicken. The main ingredients we are using are jackfruit, chickpeas, and spirulina.
Our mission is to help solve inefficiencies in the global food system by introducing more plant-based and sustainable options.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
Kushal: I was involved in a project that focused on between-meal hunger. That’s when I came face-to-face with disturbing data that suggests more than 70% of corporate employees in India are prone to heart disease and lifestyle diseases.
The main cause of these illnesses is unhealthy eating habits. That’s why I decided to dedicate my work to helping to solve this issue. Alternative food products are the answer.
Tell us about your team. Why are you the right people for the project?
Kushal: We are a small team of dedicated people, who have substantial knowledge of the food and biochemistry spaces. We all love food. However, what we can’t stand is the current level of animal cruelty and inefficiencies that exist in the global food system.
We believe that with our previous experience in creating a food product – the algae-based snack bar – all the way from initial idea to lab prototype to commercial launch, we are the right people for bringing a new plant-based meat product to market.
What are your favourite parts about building your business?
Kushal: Acting on an idea that could potentially revolutionise the food system and have a positive impact on millions of lives.
What are the main challenges you’ve faced?
Kushal: Getting appropriate lab access for creating our prototypes was an initial challenge. Distribution was another key challenge for us.
What is it that makes your company unique?
Kushal: Our past experience in creating a richly nutritious product, together with our approach of minimal processing and using abundantly available jackfruit, makes us stand out. Additionally, we are also reducing our raw-materials usage and improving the lives of farmers in India.
Why did you decide to join the ProVeg Incubator?
Kushal: Because of the ProVeg Incubator’s focus on accelerating plant-based startups. Several friends, who had previously taken part in the accelerator programme, recommended the experience to me.
What do you hope to achieve with your company in the next 12 months?
Kushal: We would like to develop strategies for the execution and launch of our plant-based-meat product, as well as developing business and investor connections.
If you enjoyed this blog post, check out this interview with Hafood – the startup making the world’s happiest chicken. Haofood is based in Shanghai, China, and develops plant-based alternatives to fried chicken.