Plant-based food innovation: How HSI India supports Indian startups for a change of meat consumption

Humane Society International/India is a part of Humane Society International (HSI) - one of the largest animal protection organizations in the world. A major topic is to end intensive confinement of farm animals, develop model programs for the protection of wildlife, end the use of animals in laboratories, and stand up to cases of animal abuse and neglect. 

What is the work of HSI India about, when it comes to plant-based food alternatives?

One of the key objectives of HSI/India is to encourage the creation of viable alternatives to replace animal-based products to promote sustainable consumption. Our campaigns across the spectrum have remained focused on this objective and catalysed change through science and education.

The production and consumption of animal-based products like meat, dairy, eggs, fur, leather, etc. have a colossal impact on the environment that bleeds into debates about ethics. Estimates from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) find animal agriculture responsible for 14.5-16.5% of global, anthropogenic, or human-induced, greenhouse gas emissions and the single largest anthropogenic user of land. 

One-sixth of our current global population is endemic to India - a country already battling environmental and food-related issues such as malnutrition, food safety, deforestation, and pollution. Development of sustainable and viable alternatives to meat, dairy and eggs can help the country - and by that the whole planet - moonwalk into a plant-based lifestyle. 

Veganomics and India

While India is perceived as a majorly vegetarian economy, this is only limited to certain parts of the country. India is, furthermore, leaping forward in scientific acumen and is spearheading innovation in several new-age technologies. Together, these two factors make India a giant market for alternative businesses. Several upstream alternative protein businesses that bring not just meat substitutes but alternatives to dairy products on the plate are testimony to the fact that more people are going plant-based for health, ethics, or environmental reasons.

The efforts to plant-up our diets and other consumption habits are steered by young entrepreneurial ventures, most of whom are operating on small-scale currently. To reap significant benefits, there is a pressing need to scale-up these ventures and make plant-based products accessible. Our Humane Entrepreneurship Program (HEP) is a one-stop platform designed to enable businesses to innovate sustainable products that will help reimagine consumerism in the light of ethics and sustainability.

Humane Entrepreneurship Program & SPOONFUL

Coalescing efforts towards emboldening humane and sustainable businesses, HSI/India is proposing a platform that will be the reservoir for humane entrepreneurs - to address similar constraints that they face through collective and streamlined efforts. Our HEP is an incubator program for businesses operating in the sectors of plant-based protein, next-generation materials replacing animals, and those replacing animals in biomedical research. Our cohort will get an opportunity to grow their products from prototype to scaled-up models with the ecosystem provided that comprises mentors, experts, advisors, and investors that will help to transform businesses in India.

SPOONFUL as one of our partners will give several workshops throughout the next cohort´s programme and will in this way support the HEP entrepreneurs” with insights on food marketing and communications.

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