ProMeat: bringing plant-based chicken to the table
Based in New Delhi, India, ProMeat is a startup focused on creating clean-label, plant-based chicken. The founding team is made up of Debabrata Das, Pranjuli Garg, and Sugriv Gupta. Established in 2020, ProMeat offers an alternative source of protein without the involvement of animals and without compromising on taste.
Tell us about your team. Why are you the right people for the project?
Debabrata: I’m a food-tech manager with a degree from NIFTEM. I have always been passionate about food preservation and food security – and especially about the alternative-protein space, which includes plant-based chicken. I was also a Good Food Institute India Fellow, and a Thought For Food Global Ambassador.
Pranjuli: My educational background is as a food-tech manager, also from NIFTEM. Over the course of three years, I mastered additional skills such as content creation, marketing, and management, while working with various organisations.
Sugriv: I completed a Masters in Nutraceutical Science at Mumbai University. On top of that, I have four years’ experience in new product development under my belt, having worked with Adani and Urban Platter.
What is your favourite part of the work you do?
Debabrata: The challenges! It is fun for us to try to determine why a product isn’t working. We enjoy finding solutions that aren’t obvious and require figuring out what hasn’t already been done, and trying out new things.
Sugriv: We see ourselves as changemakers. We continuously strive to make incremental changes in the way people consume protein. Meeting their dietary needs with plant-based chicken will surely lead us closer to a better world – one with less harm to the environment and no animal cruelty.
Pranjuli: Another great thing about the job is the opportunity to work alongside each other, and interact with people from diverse backgrounds. This keeps us super motivated and inspired every day.
What have been the main challenges in setting up your business?
Sugriv: The three of us have no background in running a startup. Because of that, we face challenges at every step.
One of the major hurdles that we faced during the R&D stage was finding specific lipid solutions. We strove to find the best way to achieve the desired texture and other important attributes.
Another significant challenge comes from scaling up production from working at a development scale to a pilot-level of production.
Pranjuli: We operate in extremely price-sensitive markets in which consumers can be wary of testing out completely new products. Keeping price proportional to the quality we offer is another challenging area.
What is it that makes your company unique?
Debabrata: Our product is made entirely from natural and non-GMO ingredients with multiple health benefits. We use a proprietary blend of mung bean and peas and soya proteins to provide all the essential amino acids naturally present in animal meats. We also utilise an indigenous Indian crop – elephant foot yam, which makes our product highly fibrous and nutritious.
Sugriv: We are also fortifying our product with natural zinc, folic acid, and vitamin B12 in order to provide optimal nutrition to our consumers.
Why did you join the ProVeg Incubator?
Pranjuli: Our mission is to bring about a sizeable and lasting change in the way people eat. We want to ease the shift away from unsustainable proteins and towards smarter and more sustainable protein sources.
The ProVeg Incubator can help us do that by sharing knowledge, resources, and skills with our team. This will assist us in tackling any upcoming challenges – and ultimately in reaching our goal. Being part of the ProVeg community allows us to help further entrench the alternative-protein sector and help change the world for the better.
What do you hope to achieve in the next 12 months?
Pranjuli: We plan to launch our product within the next 12 months. Eventually, we intend to become one of the leading brands on the Indian market. We would love to see ProMeat grow and help people shift away from animal protein.
We aim to provide taste and nutrition at very affordable prices, so that people will be able to easily access our products.
Debabrata: Apart from that, we would love to explore the plant-based egg-and-dairy sector in the future. As the population continues to increase, the demand for meat, dairy and poultry products is also on the rise. Through our efforts, we are providing tasty alternatives which are sustainable and healthier than conventional animal-based products.