Dorje Teas

Brew it Overnight; Sip it through the Day!

Dorje Teas brings the next generation of Darjeeling Teas with India's first Cold Brew!

Organic Tea Brand Dorje that markets Darjeeling Tea in association with the Selim Hill Tea Collective has launched the brand new version. They announced, "We are constantly looking at making newer products available to our customers. After months of research, under the guidance of the legendary tea planter Rajah Banerjee, we have perfected India’s First Cold Brew."

The new brew is aimed at the younger consumers.

darjeeling teaOne of the oldest Tea Estates in Darjeeling Selim Hill is located at 4000 feet in the Darjeeling Himalayan sub region. It is one of the 87 tea gardens of Darjeeling. It was first planted by the Englishman Henry Selim in 1871, and it borders the town of Kurseong. Selim Hill is the first Darjeeling garden that has agreed to participate in the innovative subscription model conceptualised by Dorje Teas in a bid to brings consumers and producers closer.

More about Selim Hill Collective

Spanning over 1,000 acres, half of the garden area is covered by the Selim Hill Forest, which is home to hundreds of different species of birds, including the great Indian hornbill, animals like leopards, barking deers, and elephants, and different species of spiders and snakes.

The spiritual life of the forest is captured in Selim Hill’s teas.

The Selim Hill Collective was created by the trustees of the tea estate, under the Chairmanship of Rajah Banerjee. The purpose of the Collective is to reimagine the space of the tea estate, by moving away from the model of commercially exploited plantations to that of an inclusive and naturally holistic garden.

The New Dorje Cold Brew

Dorje Teas calls the Cold Brew Teas specially prepared at Selim Hill Tea Garden as the Next Generation of Darjeeling Tea.

Sparsh Agarwal, founder of Dorje Teas shares. “This was done under the guidance and expertise of Rajah Banerjee, the former owner of the famous Makaibari tea estate. This cold brew is available in 250 gm and 100 gm."

“The Dorje cold brew tea is dark, bold and strong. It is a loose leaf product that is meant to be brewed overnight and sipped through the day, over ice, he adds.

Here's How to make the Cold Brew -

Vegan Christmas

Make Vegan Christmas Exciting

Vegan Christmas is exciting with the right recipes on hand. Plus, if the food brands like those in the UK are as innovative, then its double whammy for vegan/ plant based food lovers

Eating meat is surely a habit that can be left behind to embrace vegetarianism and veganism. But, what about the tradition associated with it; especially when it’s Christmas. Even as more and more people are looking for meatless Christmas dinners, in countries like UK and the US food brands are rolling out products that will make Vegan Christmas exciting. In the UK, top food brands and super markets announced special menus and festive boxes packing in a whole lot of popular holiday specials in their ‘No Meat’ versions.

Vegan Christmas
M&S Range

The popular supermarket Aldi launched their Christmas range that includes soy-based No Turkey Crown with cranberry and chestnut stuffing wrapped in vegan bacon. It’s a complete festive menu including Vegan Gravy, No Pigs In Blankets, and a butternut squash and rosemary Vegan Festive Wreath.  The supermarket is going to sell the Vegan Christmas goodies from December 19. Vegan cheesecake and chocolate Tort slices complete the menu.

Mark & Spencer’s range includes more than 25 brand new dishes. It includes Plant Kitchen’s Vegan Duck Croquettes, made with shredded soya and a cherry hoisin sauce. Additionally, there are Mini Battered No Fishcakes, Mini No Chicken Kievs, and No Pork BBQ Bon Bons. M&S is stocking Vegan Selection Boxes with the Christmas must haves like triple cooked potatoes, vegan pigs in blankets and cranberry stuffing balls.

Plant Kitchen is also supplying to the stores Vegan Turkey Rolled Roast and more will be on offer in the coming days. Morrisons is yet another brand that is promising considerably large vegan menu – which includes Vegan Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese and Vegan Chilli No-Cheese Bites, Vegan Roast Joint with Herb and Onion Stuffing and Vegan Vegetable Wellington. Their No Duck Spring Rolls and Oven Roasted Mushroom Vegan Pâté are surely worth a try.

Vegan ChristmasFor those around the world who are not so spoilt for choice; if you wish to cook your own Vegan dishes, here are two websites we suggest you follow for Christmas Vegan Recipes

This is where you usually get innovative recipes and traditional recipes are revisited. As a vegan one can definitely try the cauliflower roast as an alternative to traditional roast. It is even rubbed with thyme for flavour.

Vegan food lover Kate puts together dazzling variety of vegan recipes and a huge bunch of them specially created for Christmas. She believes that any Christmas dish can be veganized.

Even though one can use plant based meat and other meatless options available in the market for your roast; Kate includes Seitan-based roast (from

by Melissa Huggins) that looks beautiful and appears extremely appealing in taste. The succulent roast is stuffed with Vegan Sourdough Bread Stuffing and topped with a subtly sweet glaze.





Variations in Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Individual Diets

That eating plant-based food and conscious eating aids in environment protection is widely accepted. However, most of research on the environmental effect of food behaviors have  focused on a limited number of broad food categories.

The below mentioned research paper re-affirms the much in discussion concern and how Policies encouraging sustainable diets should focus on plant-based diets.

Here's a research article from Plos One that explores 'Variations in greenhouse gas emissions of individual diets: Associations between the greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient intake in the United Kingdom'


Holly L. Rippin, Janet E. Cade, Lea Berrang-Ford, Tim G. Benton, Neil Hancock, Darren C. Greenwood

Green house gas emissionsBackground

Food production accounts for 30% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Less environmentally sustainable diets are also often more processed, energy-dense and nutrient-poor. To date, the environmental impact of diets have mostly been based on a limited number of broad food groups.


We link GHG emissions to over 3000 foods, assessing associations between individuals’ GHG emissions, their nutrient requirements and their demographic characteristics. We also identify additional information required in dietary assessment to generate more accurate environmental impact data for individual-level diets.


GHG emissions of individual foods, including process stages prior to retail, were added to the UK Composition Of Foods Integrated Dataset (COFID) composition tables and linked to automated online dietary assessment for 212 adults over three 24-hour periods. Variations in GHG emissions were explored by dietary pattern, demographic characteristics and World Health Organization Recommended Nutrient Intakes (RNIs).


GHG emissions estimates were linked to 98% (n = 3233) of food items. Meat explained 32% of diet-related GHG emissions; 15% from drinks; 14% from dairy; and 8% from cakes, biscuits and confectionery. Non-vegetarian diets had GHG emissions 59% (95% CI 18%, 115%) higher than vegetarian. Men had 41% (20%, 64%) higher GHG emissions than women. Individuals meeting RNIs for saturated fats, carbohydrates and sodium had lower GHG emissions compared to those exceeding the RNI.


Policies encouraging sustainable diets should focus on plant-based diets. Substituting tea, coffee and alcohol with more sustainable alternatives, whilst reducing less nutritious sweet snacks, presents further opportunities. Healthier diets had lower GHG emissions, demonstrating consistency between planetary and personal health. Further detail could be gained from incorporating brand, production methods, post-retail emissions, country of origin, and additional environmental impact indicators. 

Jufa Herb

What is this Magical Herb ‘Jufa’?

Hyssopus officinalis - that is the scientific name for what is increasingly being referred to as magical herb - Jufa. Incidentally this herb that is native to south of Europe and Middle East, and interestingly has a lot of relevance in Ayurveda.

Jufa HerbJufa Herb bitter in its original form, and is known for its pungency and heat generating quality. As per the Ayurvedic principles, it is used for its therapeutic properties. In recent times it is also being referred to for its curative properties for people who are exposed to toxic air. In India, and all over the world where there are cities with high pollution levels, Jufa is known to be helpful in addressing congested nose, sore throat and cough.

Herbal Pharma company AIMIL Pharmaceuticals launched its JufexForte syrup made using Jufa Herb that can be had with lukewarm water for best results.

Jufa HerbIn Ayurveda there are more herbs with such properties. Tulsi is one that is also used in Indian households as home remedy. Then there are cloves, cinnamon, Peepli, Gojiya, Baheda,Dried Fig and Unab - some to clean respiratory tract, others to clear mucus, and some more that cure minor irritations. While some of them can be used as home remedies, and many also used in Over The Counter Ayurvedic medicines, prolonged illnesses have to be referred to a doctor for relevant medication.

It can also be used in tea for its calming properties and also to help in breath related ailments and even common cold. There are companies selling Jufa tea flowers online.

Startup competition

3rd Gastronomy Tourism Startup Competition is Announced

United Nations World Tourism Organization announced the 3rd Gastronomy Tourism Startup Competition. The UNWTO welcomes new ideas that maximize the benefits of this kind of tourism in order to aid community development, cultural awareness and diversification of tourism products, and above all to accelerate gastronomy tourism initiatives to achieve the SDGs.

startup competition

Transforming Gastronomy Tourism through Innovation

Following the success of previous editions, UNWTO in collaboration with Basque Culinary Center launches the 3rd Global Competition for Gastronomy Tourism Startups.  "Our Mission is to identify challenges and projects, and catalyzing innovations that can transform the Gastronomy Tourism sector in the near future." the organization releases the mission statement along with the details of the contest on their website.

The undoubted influence of gastronomy in travel and the growing demand for gastronomic tourism have made this area one of the segments with the greatest development opportunities attracting growing interest on the part of governments. Food tourism has become one of the most dynamic and creative segments of tourism and, at the same time, has naturally positioned itself as an element of diversification of tourism with a high impact on the promotion of sustainable development at the regional and local levels.

Here are details of the competition:

Who can participate?

New Technologies Startups that are developing and promoting a startup with a high technological component to provide solutions or new services related to the Gastronomic Tourism sector.

Local Impact Startups that are developing and promoting a project with a high component of transformation and social improvement in its area of implementation and that are attached to the Gastronomic Tourism sector.

Sustainability and Waste startups that are developing and promoting a project with a high component of sustainability and/or food waste management related to the impact generated by tourists

Benefits to winners 

  • Mentoring by UNWTO and top partners
  • Tailored support for your startup
  • Investment opportunities
  • Form part of the UNWTO Innovation Network
  • Scholarship opportunities for the Tourism Online Academy
  • Opportunity to present your startup at the 7th UNWTO Gastronomy Tourism Forum (Nara, Japan June 2022)
  • Use of a space in the LABe- Digital Gastronomy Lab facilities for 6 months.
  • Participate as a finalist company in the corresponding edition of Culinary Action! - On the road, the first foodtech startup competition in roadshow format.
  • Advanced Plan of the GOe Digital Community for 6 months, which is the first digital community within the 360º gastronomy sector.

Deadline for applications is 28 February, 2022. Startups will be announced on the online platform on April 1, 2020. In May the winners will be announced. For more details, click here.


Cultivated Meat

From Lab to Fork – South African Mzansi Meat on the Right Course

It’s a long journey. South Africans must first understand cell cultivation, taste cultured meat, and then buy it  - says Brett Thompson, Co-Founder, and CEO of Mzansi Meat Co., Africa’s first cultivated meat company

South African
South African Braai

Braaing, the African Barbeque, is an important part of South African culture and even a matter of pride for the natives. Chilling with family, socializing with friends over long drawn evenings, waiting for the fire to heat up enough to grill the meats – that are quintessentially South African in flavors and variety is probably where the story of Mzansi Meat starts.

When in the US and Europe, plant-based and cultured meat companies started producing patties and meatballs for the rest of the world, in March 2020 Brett Thompson along with Jayson Van Der Walt founded a company with a name that is African in flavor. “Like Braai, South Africa has a unique taste profile, and when I started the company, I wanted to come from the cultural point of view and wanted a South African name,” shares CEO and founder of the first South African cultured meat company ‘Mzansi Meat’. Brett has worked in alternative protein and animal advocacy for more than a decade in South Africa and Germany. He is constantly interested in the way we eat and how we can use innovation to drive better food systems.

He adds, “When we started Mzansi Meat, we wanted to understand why people eat meat. It’s not just because it’s tasty. Some said they love to eat meat with family on Sundays, or while having beers on a Thursday after a long day at work. The word ‘Culture’ did crop up quite a number of times. The South African culture associated with meat is very crucial,” he adds.

cultured meatWhen the co-founders registered the company, it was still a concept that belonged elsewhere.  Additionally, the world went into lockdown and like every other company, the start-up suffered. “Starting the company in such an environment was challenging. But, it made us stronger and prepared us for chaos. Unlike India or even Nigeria, South Africa is fairly a smaller market. As founders, we have had a background in cultured meat and extensive experience in the food sector. But, we are non-technical. We are not scientists. Therefore, we struggled to convince investors that we are the people for the job. Then we met Ryan,” Brett relates the initial hurdles faced by the team.

Ryan Bethencourt, who believed in the relevance of cultured meat, contributed the initial funding to start Mzansi Meat.

Cultured Meat
Brett with his team

“There will be billions of extra mouths to feed in the coming few years. Plus, we are not eating enough protein. Plant-Based meat is dealing with the challenge of too many ingredients. These factors indicate that cell cultivation of meat is inevitable. Ryan was convinced about this. And, that helped us get into the lab and make progress. We wanted to develop meat products that can be easily transformed into African cuisine.”

In the following months, Brett and the team brought in a bigger investment. Meanwhile, in one year, the lone company trying to spread the word, multiplied into a few more new companies in the alternative protein space of South Africa. These companies are buoyed by the market trends. Various studies and research agencies have revealed data that says that over 50% of South African meat-eaters are ready to try alternate meat if they understand what it is.

The journey has just begun. And the challenges are only beginning to emerge; Brett and the team are conscious of the long journey ahead and have a game plan in hand. Mzansi Meat Co. will roll out its products by next year. This will be followed by getting into the retail space and foodservice industry.

The global alternative protein ecosystem that had just three to four players internationally, today, has over 100 companies up and down the value chain. Brett says, “We are under the shadow of giants. We will leapfrog some of the hurdles they have had.”

“Considering the geography of Africa, we are somewhat isolated. The industry people happily speak about Asia, North America, but not as much about Africa or South America. We, at our end, are constantly in discussion with consumers and retail making them understand the product. We are dealing with a price-sensitive market. Cultured meat is not cost-effective yet. That is one of the pain points we are working towards solving. Consumers are tired of looking at the packaging and seeing ingredients that they do not understand, which is another area we need to address.  We are working towards packaging with lesser ingredients that consumers know and understand.”

"The investor space is quite competitive. Finding talent was challenging too and there was no one who has done this work before. We had to repurpose talent,” reveals Brett. The human resource seems to be a solved problem, as the specializations in the field are available, and Mzansi Meat is on a hiring spree. What started as a team of two people is gradually growing as people from all over the world join the revolutionary company that prefers to be known as a food company rather than a tech one.

The focus is clear, Brett states – “Get the market ready for cultured meat by the time we actually begin to manufacture.”

Nutritional fungi

Future of Nutritional Fungi ‘Fy’

Understanding Nutritional fungi ‘Fy’ in the wake of rising discussions on the need to develop cheaper, and highly nutritious protein alternatives for Indian / Asian markets

nutritional fungiKabir Nanda is the director for International Expansion at Nature’s Fynd; a company working towards promoting a revolutionary protein source developed by nutritional fungi. He is working towards a low-carbon, climate-friendly food system. He spoke at the Smart Protein Summit 2021 organized by the Good Food Institute India. He shared various interesting details on nutritional fungi ‘Fy’ in the wake of rising discussions on the need to develop cheaper, and highly nutritious protein alternatives for Indian / Asian markets.

Fy protein is created from a microbe through a fermentation process. The process of making this protein is simple – Kabir calls it elegant; it saves on time – the turnaround time is quite low; uses low energy compared to both plant-based and animal-based protein development methods.

Here is a gist of what the ‘Fy’ protein is all about, based on Kabir’s conversation at the Summit.

It is made using simple commodities like basic carbon sources, or simple sugars. It can be made during rain or sunshine, under any climatic conditions, and anywhere in the world. That means it is viable for decentralized production cutting down the logistic nightmares the companies have to go through.

“We can create a range of meat and dairy analogs. It is rich in nutrients with 50% protein and high in Amino acids, and fibre. It has a texture that we recognize in meat. And its emulsifying properties enable it to transform easily and we can create a range of products for various dishes across the cuisines. That is the reason why I was drawn to its international expansion,” explains Kabir.

Transformative technologies have a very important role to play in taking alt protein to newer markets. And for this to happen, Kabir says that the cultural ethos, local economy and structures that exist are to be considered while creating solutions.

“Asia is particularly going to be importat for me because it is going to account for the bulk of protein demand in the next 20-30 years and it is going to be highly impacted by the climate change,” he adds.

Technology development cannot be the sole criteria for protein production. Kabir and many other industry experts, who participated in the summit, agree on the importance of the alt protein to proliferate society at all socio-economic strata, not just limit it to the elite, and make it easy to be adapted into regional cuisines. In Asia, especially in India protein deficiency is a reality, and needs to be addressed by optimising the protein developed by enriching it with nutrients.

Indian Nutrition

Is India Facing Nutrition Emergency???

Former CEO & MD Britannia Industries Vinita Bali opened the Day 3 of the Smart Protein Summit presented by Good food Institute India. She summed up the milestones that need to be reached in order to transform Indian market towards the plant-based and alternate protein food.

The summit that brought together industry stake holders, experts, investors, technologists, scientists together in a way set the future roadmap for the smart protein sector in India. According to FPO’s data in 2020 between 720 and 811 million people faced hunger in 2020.  Atleast one-fourth of these are in India. And, the pandemic has only made it worse. Vegetarianism is not new to India and Asia at large. Consumer behaviour is different and what India needs a distinct approach when marketing plant based or animal based alt protein. Taste palate, flavour profile, and above all cost parity will make a lot of difference. Innovation has to be in the direction of addressing nutrition needs of Indian consumers, agree many experts who participated in the Summit.

Vegetarianism is not new to India and Asia at large. Consumer behaviour is different and what India needs a distinct approach when marketing plant based or animal based alt protein.

Vinita spoke about the looming nutrition emergency in India that needs to be addressed with customised solutions.

Like it is for any product on market, whether it is for plant based or animal based protein what is imperative for innovation is the relevance of a product, and how distinctive it is in a market with other options, adding value and offering at a price that communicates the value.

vinita bali In India, there are three types of protein consumers. There is this huge section of people who are under nourished for a long time, who do not get to enough calories to eat. Then there are those that are lacking in micro nutrients – vitamins and minerals and macro nutrients. And then there is this section of consumers who eat excess of calories, wrong calories who are obese and lack in nutrition.  Each of this poses a big challenge and has to be addressed individually. A macro solution will not be enough.

While describing the distinctiveness of Indian market Vinita said how alt protein cannot be only for the elite. “We can look at cheaper alternatives like millets,” she added, "It's time we looked back at what our grandmothers cooked and ate."

Europe Continues To Dominate Meat Substitute Market

According to the current analysis of Reports and Data, the global Meat Substitutes market was valued at USD 4,471.7 Million in 2018 and is expected to reach USD 7,694.0 Million by the year 2026, at a CAGR of 7.0%.

Reports and Data is a market research and consulting company that provides syndicated research reports, customized research reports, and consulting services. The company has recently released its findings from research on Meat Substitutes – market size, demand, trends, growth, application, opportunities and industry forecast to 2026. The study was done in North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East & Africa, Latin America. These products are analogs which have meat-like texture but are healthy and cholesterol-free.

The meat substitutes market is primarily driven by the increasing preference for plant-based products and vegan diet. Also, the rich nutritive profile of these products is expected to fuel the market demand, globally. Shifting consumer interest from animal products is major due to rising concern about animal welfare, personal health, and sustainability. The intake of animal protein results in high cholesterol level, fat, and calories, that increase the risk of cardiac disease, obesity, high blood sugar level.

Regulations and initiatives by agencies, such as FDA and FSIS, related to product composition and specifications are also expected to influence growth in the meat substitutes market. The major challenge faced is the availability of substitute products and high perishability rate of Tofu and tofu-based products. The high cost of processing cost involved in the production of alternatives has led to a high price of the substitute products, such as Tofu and tempeh and this is expected to hinder the industrial growth.

Europe dominated the meat substitutes market in 2018 with a share of 32.6%. Growing adoption of vegan diet in the region is a key factor influencing market growth. Moreover, increasing availability of these products is also likely to have a positive impact on the market. For instance, in 2019, McDonald's introduced a new product: Big Vegan TS, which includes vegan burger across Germany. Though some countries in European such as France, Portugal and Switzerland have not yet witnessed the adoption of ‘fake meat’ on a large scale, countries including Britain and Sweden have consumed nearly twice as many meat alternatives in 2018 as compared to the U.S.

Key participants in the meat substitutes market include DowDuPont, ADM, The Nisshin OilliO Group, Sonic Biochem Limited, MGP Ingredients, VBites, and Garden Protein International, among others.

Further key findings from the report suggest

  1. Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) is expected to witness lucrative growth at a CAGR of 6.7%. TVP is a by-product of soybean oil extraction. It is low in carbohydrates, calories, and fat. Along with this, the low cost of TVP is also likely to boost its demand in the forecast period thereby driving the meat substitutes market.
  2. Asia Pacific is expected to account for 23.4% of the global meat substitutes market. Increased preference for vegetarian food coupled with the limited production of animal products are some factors driving the growth of this segment. Moreover, growing awareness towards health and the environment are also projected to fuel meat substitutes market in the region. Countries including China, Singapore, and Hong Kong are among of the key regions. For instance, in Hong Kong, a company named Right Treat has bought an exclusive line of OmniPork in the market. The company aims to promote shifting to plant-based diet as a crucial mean for addressing the problems of global warming and food insecurity.
  3. On the basis of source, soy dominates the meat substitute market with 57.1% share. Increase in consumption of soy, due to its application in food items, such as snacks, cookies, and baked products and various health benefits such as in the reduction of obesity and sugar levels drive the growth of this segment.
    • Based on type, the tempeh segment is expected to grow at the highest CAGR of 7.8%. Tempeh is a low-cost substitute which offers various health benefits such as increasing antibodies production and reduced risk of diabetes.
  4. However, health concerns associated with these products and their high cost are likely to hinder the growth of meat substitutes market during the forecast period.

Source: EIN Presswire

mars chocolate

Mars Chocolate Bars Will Be Carbon Neutral by 2023

Mars Chocolate, the global confectioner company has rolled out a roadmap to achieve carbon neutrality in IK, Ireland and Canada by 2023 as a part of their commitment to planet Earth

The confectioner company Mars announced their commitment to take critical actions needed to address the health and sustainability of our planet. In a statement on their website, they mention, "We firmly believe that engaging you – the consumer – in the fight against climate change is an imperative.

That’s why we are proud to announce that all Mars bars sold in the UK, Ireland and Canada will be certified as carbon neutral by 2023. That’s over 220 million chocolate bars a year that will be carbon neutral." 

The announcement comes in line with their pledge to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions across our full Mars value chain by 2050.

They share a detailed plan on how the company plans to achieve carbon neutrality in the UK, Ireland, and Canada?

  • We are deeply committed to operating more sustainably.

For example, we have already reduced our carbon footprint from direct operations in the UK by 67% since 2015. We’re doing more though—and next year in the UK we’ll be removing a million miles from the roads through a new logistics program.

  • In Canada, the Mars bar, which has been manufactured in Newmarket for over 30 years, is produced in a factory that is certified LEED Silver, sends zero waste to landfill, and incorporates several energy saving initiatives including recapturing heat from operations to heat the building.
  • A chunk of the Mars bar’s emissions is from our agricultural supply chains. To reduce these emissions, we’re taking decisive action to tackle deforestation, address land use and transform how we source raw materials.

As a result of supercharging our efforts to sustainably transform supply chain agricultural practices, namely cocoa and cows (and their burps!), the Mars bar will see a carbon footprint reduction of over 20% in the UK, Ireland and Canada by 2023.

This includes using satellite data to geomap cocoa farms and accelerated partnerships with suppliers to produce dairy more sustainably.

For example, by the end of 2022, 100% of suppliers providing dairy for the Mars bar in the UK will have a program to reduce their on-farm greenhouse gas impacts. That’s everything from improving feed to using low emission manure application technology (it really is a thing!).

  • Any emissions that cannot be eliminated will be offset by high quality carbon removal credits based on climate solutions like reforestation and land restoration.

We will work with an independent auditor to certify the Mars bar as carbon neutral and will be adhering to the PAS 2060 standard for carbon neutrality, which provides radical transparency and is widely considered to be the leading standard of carbon neutral specification.

This is just the beginning of the company's commitment to continue to make purposeful climate interventions. " we know that to create a world tomorrow where the planet is healthy, we must continue to take bold action," they declare.

Plant based food

Time for Plant-Based Food To Penetrate the Frozen Food Retail Space

Ruth McLennan, Commercial Director from Dairy Farm Retail Group spoke at the Bridge2Food Summit + Expo Plant-Based Foods and Proteins Asia 2021. She shares her experiences and suggestions on  - How to turn the other half of the shop to plant-based?

DFI Group has 10,000 retail outlets in 12 Asian markets and territories. The group is actively looking at expanding its plant-based shelf space. Ruth McLennan, who is also the Board member is a retail transformation agent and is looking at bringing in definitive change towards sustainability.

RuthDuring her initial days of retail experience in Asia, she visited a few wet markets and came back quite affected. From then to now, she gladly informs about the much-increased demand for plant-based food, especially post-covid due to health reasons. So much so that she feels the Asian retailers are not able to cope with the demand.

Amongst the gaps in retail according to her are the fewer brands in the market not enough to cater to the increasing demand, the insufficient segmentation in supermarkets, and definitely the price factor. “Customers are seeking transformation from us,” she shares.

Despite the demand for plant-based food; there is a long way to go as the products are yet to penetrate the frozen food space. There are challenges to overcome. It is important to understand what the consumers want. And, Data plays a major role in gaining insight. One of the things data indicates is how consumers are not just looking at the alternatives, but safer practices and innovative products. DFI is working towards meeting consumer demands and is collaborating with sustainable companies and start-ups working in the space.

Ruth does talk about cross-merchandising, especially to increase the shelf space for plant-based products, and expand the customer base. “The taste profile and product types that work in Asia are very different. We need collaborations with companies that support this need in order to work together towards the common goal. We work with companies like Cold Storage, Giant, Hero, Market Place, Mercato, Jason’s Deli & Cart,” she informs.

“Due to the pandemic, we have not been able to do many activities. We need to do trials and tastings in order for more people to taste the products. We need to be brave, and come up with initiatives like free recipe cards, sampling etc.,” Ruth shares a few ideas for in-store marketing in order to expand the customer profile.

While Europe and North America are already ahead in plant-based market space, the Asian market is already hugely vegan and vegetarian. With the right product profile, this market need can be addressed, and a newer customer base can be created.

Asian plant based food

6 Asian Plant Based Food Trends

Vikas Garg, Founder, CEO 'abillion' explains the six top plant-based food trends in Asia.  He spoke at the virtual event - Bridge2Food Summit + Expo Plant-Based Foods & Protein Asia 2021

Asian Plant Based Food
Vikas Garg

Vegan, entrepreneur and advocate Vikas Garg’s 'abillion' app is there in 150 countries. It has been downloaded almost one million times and is being used from Singapore to Argentina by people who want to live more sustainably. 'abillion' shares feedback and suggestions based on reviews left by users, as well as industry insights gleaned from real consumer data. 'Abillion' brings together social media and commerce – and creates a supportive ecosystem and community.

Here are the top Asian plant-based food trends that are predicted to influence the market.

  • Vegan Pork, Chicken and Seafood alternatives are on a rise in Asia – While in European and American markets Vegan beef is the favourite; the Asian market looks beyond beef. Between January 2020 and July 2021, demand for seafood alternatives has increased by 9.4%. This trend is quite evident as the South East Asian plant based food consumer market has always been dominated by fish.  2/3rds of the world’s fish is eaten in Asia.
  • Asian plant based food consumers want cooking formats that fit their cuisine – The Asian consumers want pork mince and strips, not just patties. There is a company Karana which is making plant-based pork from jackfruit, and Omni from Hong Kong makes pork mince and strips. There are brands looking ahead of the curve.
  • Asian plant based food eaters are looking for vegan versions of local foods, not just raw unflavoured meat but the pre-cooked version with sauces and recipes. This is the reason rendangs, kebabs, dim sums, biryanis.
  • Dairy – as an alternative protein has been trending for more than a decade. In Asia dairy products like Soy Milk, Almond Milk and Coconut Milk are not new. People have been using them. In addition, another fastest-growing plant-based dairy product is Oat milk. There is a growing demand for flavoured oat milk like chocolate and vanilla, chai, matcha in the last 6- 12 months. The popular company Oatly has started a joint venture with a local company in Singapore. In addition to Oat milk, a few other bases are being used to make dairy-free milk – hemp, chia seeds, avocado, hazelnut, pistachio.
  • Eggs – There is a rise in the use of egg alternatives. The concept of vegan eggs has been there for some time now. Powdered replacements have been in use for baking. Data shows an increased interest in eating egg alternatives like scrambled eggs, omelettes; people want to recreate the look and feel. For the past 6-7 years Just Eggs has been creating egg alternatives. The company is looking towards Singapore for production.
  • Labelling promoting health benefits has become big. What is in the food? Where has it come? – Consumers are looking at packaging, ingredients, and health benefits. Dietary preferences, allergens etc mentioned on the labels also make it easier o choose in the increasingly health-conscious world.
Satvik Food

Gita Hari Promotes Vegetarian and Satvik Food

Interview with Gita Hari, Writer, Culinary Expert & Food Curator on the vegetarian cuisine typical to Tamil Brahmin community in south India, which leans towards Satvik food

Indian vegetarian cuisine is unique in its diversity. The subcontinent is divided into many regions and each region’s climate, habits and traditions majorly influence the cuisine. Amongst the factors that influence the age-old culinary traditions are - health and wellness. In south of India, the Tamil Nadu Brahmin cuisine is largely Satvik - vegetarian that only uses ingredients that induce goodness and harmony in the body.

Satvik Food
Gita Hari in Hilton Mumbai

Gita Hari is a journalist and food critic. She is a zero-waste kitchen promoter, culinary expert and curator of Tam Brahm (Tamil Brahmin) satvik food for Premium hotels across India. A mother to her two sons, she loves to travel and aims to make Tam Brahm food popular across the globe.

Gita does not have formal training in hospitality or designing menus. But being a seasoned journalist and having written on food, and reviewed restaurants, she tasted food from across the country and the world. Eventually, she realised she was eating at odd hours and a lot of unhealthy food. And, this led to her going back to her roots. “It dawned upon me that home-cooked food, native to me, was the best. I became passionate about spreading the word to make people aware of Ayurvedic food or satvik cuisine. The transition to curating this cuisine came easily to me as it was in my roots and I only had to tap into it,” she shares.

The knowledge of food was indeed handed down by her mother and mother-in-law, and some she researched on her own. And she believes in curating menus and food festivals that follow the basic tenets – Eat Healthy, Be Healthy.

Gita has also hosted food shows on the digital platform and for a TV Channel called Spin TV.

One of her Tam Brahm Sattvik food promotions was held at the renowned wellness retreat Viveda Wellness Village in Nashik, which specialises in Ayurvedic treatments and satvik food.

She gives a peek into Satvik Tam Brahm cuisine during an interview with Indica VEGA.

Excerpts from the interview:

satvik food

What is your definition of Satvik food?

There are three kinds of gunas in humans – Sattva, Rajas and Tamas and they affect us intensely. Sattva represents purity, knowledge and harmony, Rajas denotes passion, energy and action while Tamas manifests as inertia, unethical, egoistic. There are foods which correspond to these gunas. Satvik food takes care of your body, mind and soul. Pleasing to the palate, tummy-friendly, and with a calming effect on the mind, satvik food is the answer to holistic well-being. Certain ingredients like onion and garlic generate heat in the body giving rise to anger, aggravation, even lust and greed. They are best avoided or if essential, to be taken in smaller portions and not very often. Eat in moderation and always stop when you feel like having that one last helping.

What are the key ingredients that are a must in your Satvik kitchen?

Immunity-boosting ingredients like fresh vegetables, lentils, lemon, ginger, turmeric, herbs like coriander and curry leaves are of primary importance. I use hing or asafoetida which aids digestion, fenugreek seeds for lowering cholesterol and the probiotic curd/buttermilk liberally. Ghee or clarified butter is a gut-healthy cooking fat I use to season curries and gravies. It heals the stomach lining damaged by gastric acid. I avoid white salt, white sugar and white or refined flour. Instead I use jaggery, Himalayan or rock salt, and whole wheat or multigrain atta.

Can you explain to us a typical meal in a Tam Brahm house, and your views on the ingredients and method of cooking?

Satvik FoodPredominantly rice consumers, Tam Brahm staples are steamed rice, tuvar dal with ghee, sambar, rasam, poriyal or thoran (cut veggies, boiled and lightly sautéed, tempered with grated coconut and green chillies in coconut oil) ending with curd rice. For that zesty kick a bit of puli injhi (green chillies and fresh ginger pieces in tamarind sauce), lemon or mango pickles, all in moderation. Papadams or appalams, vadam/karvadam (sun dried rice/sago fritters) are a must on special occasions.

The ingredients used in daily cooking like lentils, fresh vegetables, curd, coconut are anti-inflammatory, gut-healthy, probiotic and eaten in moderation, can go a long way in keeping us in excellent health in our autumn years as well. Only Indian vegetables are consumed while cauliflower, mushrooms, and the like are not normally used.

From the morning cuppa of filter coffee, to the finale of curd rice and payasam, we have our unique cooking methods. Coffee filter and in some homes coffee grinder too, are mandatory for that eye-opener beverage. The cooking technique of meals is uncomplicated and involves boiling, mild sautéing, which help retain the nutritional values of the ingredients used.

How do eaters from across India respond to your food? What are your must have specialities on your menu?

I am proud of the cuisine of Palakkad, the native land to which I belong. The food here is harmless, improves health and is light on the stomach. I keep my Palakkad TamBrahm meals authentic and don’t attempt to fuse it with others just to please the palate of the guests of premier hotels where I conduct my food events. I do bring in a bit of Tanjavur/Tamil Nadu dishes like Vethakoyambu, Puliyodarai for variety. Mostly vegetarians like Kannadigas, Gujaratis and Marwaris-Jains have shown very positive and encouraging response while North Indians like Sindhis and Punjabis have their reservations due to lack of onion and garlic. They do relish a few items, for instance, my Mango Puliseri which resembles kadhi is very popular with all communities. Venn Pongal, varieties of Rasam have got tremendous response from guests across India. Recently, after the pandemic, diners have become conscious of their health and prefer vegetarian food even while dining out and satvik food caters to this newfound attitude towards wellbeing.

I make it a point to include mango puliseri, rasam, thorans, varieties of rice like lemon/curd/coconut/tamarind rice and papadams along with Kerala banana chips. Avial is a favourite among guests and so is mung dal koshambari. Payasam is a specialty where fine rice is cooked in jaggery, garnished with chopped nuts and raisins in pure ghee.

Vegan food market trend

Global Vegan Food Market Report 2021

The Business Research Company’s latest report on 'Vegan Food Global Market Report 2021 - COVID-19 Growth And Change'  an overview of the vegan food market trends, is out. According to the report the global vegan food market is expected to grow from $14.44 billion in 2020 to $15.77 billion in 2021 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.2%. The growth is mainly due to the companies resuming their operations and adapting to the new normal while recovering from the COVID-19 impact, which had earlier led to restrictive containment measures involving social distancing, remote working, and the closure of commercial activities that resulted in operational challenges. 

The global vegan food market is spread across Asia-Pacific, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, North America, South America, Middle East, Africa. And the major companies in the segment include Amy's Kitchen, VITASOY International Holdings Ltd., Beyond Meat, Tofutti Brands, Plamil Foods Ltd., Danone S.A., Vbites Foods Ltd., Eden Foods Inc., Whitewave Foods Company Inc, Sun Opta Inc., Pascual Group, Blue Diamond Growers, Archer Daniel Midland Company, Earth's Own Food Company Inc, Panos Brand LLC., Hain Celestial Group Inc., Organic Vallet Corporative, Living Harvest Food Inc., Morningstar Farms, MGP Ingredients Inc., Sonic Biochem Extractions Limited, ADM, Dupont, The Nisshin Oillio Group, Schouten Europe, Memphis Meats, Alpha Foods, Corbion Biotech Inc., Famleigh Inc., Alpro.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, in 2018, total gross U.S. greenhouse gas emissions were 6,676.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMT CO2 Eq). Increasing concern about the environment among people is driving the growth of the vegan market. And as per the vegan food market trend the market is expected to reach $22.27 billion in 2025.

vegan food trend

A quick overview of the vegan market trend

The vegan market consists of the sale of vegan products and related services for consumption purposes. Vegan products include food and beverages produced without the use of animal ingredients or animal-derived ingredients. Vegan food products include fruits and vegetables, legumes such as peas, beans, plant protein-based tofu and plant protein-based meat.

One of the trends in the vegan market is the production of meat through cell-based technology. The cell-by-cell identical meat is produced in factories without involving the killing of animals. Production of cell-based meat involves feeding the animal cells with nutrients and proteins thus, eliminating the need for dependence on animals for meat. Following the trend, in 2019, Memphis Meats, a U.S.A-based cell-based meat start-up, received investments from Cargill, a US-based food production company, for the production of cell-based vegan animal meat. Since 2016, other major players such as Tyson Foods., a US-based processor and marketer of chicken, beef, and pork, are also investing in Memphis Meats in order to support cell-based meat production.

The global vegan food market is segmented -

1) By Product Substitute: Dairy Alternative, Meat Substitute, Others

2) By Distribution Channel: Online, Offline

3) By Source: Wheat, Soy, Oats, Almond, Others

Read More On The Global Vegan Food Market Report:

DIwali Recipes

Diwali Recipes for the Vegan Indians

PETA has been consistently advocating Veganism. Like every festival, this time too PETA Asia has curated a bunch of famous Indian sweets from Vegan0friendly netizens who have relooked at the must-have sweets that have been long associated with the festival of lights. These recipes are vegan, even healthy.
Disclaimer: The Content has been sourced form PETA ASIA in the interest of Veganism. Follow the links for recipes.

Gulab Jamun

Like most Indian sweet dishes, gulab jamun is traditionally made with dairy ingredients. However, this dessert is a must-have during Diwali, and like we all know by now, any dish can be made without harming animals. Vegan Richa’s recipe for vegan gulab jamun creates an indulgent dessert and is bound to impress guests at your Diwali feast.

Toasted Coconut Ladoo Balls

Fudgy soft balls of coconut heaven! These ladoo balls are made with coconut milk, cardamom, and coconut sugar.

Brown Rice Kheer

Every Indian household will be indulging in kheer this holiday season. It’s a sweet, creamy rice pudding topped with nuts and raisins. Usually, it contains white rice, but this recipe calls for brown rice, so you can make your treat a little bit healthier. We won’t say no to that second helping, then!

Mango Shahi Tukda

This is an exotic version of bread-and-butter pudding, featuring a mango and cashew cream sauce. Not only does mango make this dish look vibrant, it also gives it a distinctive flavor. We love how blended cashews make the best milk alternative.

Date Balls

This is the quickest and easiest sweet you can make for Diwali this year, and it’s healthy and gluten-free, too.


Quinoa Chivda

We love nibbling on food, like this spicy, crunchy mix of cereal, nuts, and spices. You can serve it as a side with your Diwali dinner or as a standalone snack. Warning: Once you start munching on this mix, it’s difficult to stop.

Vegetable Samosas

Samosas are traditional and tasty and make excellent appetizers. Make them with potatoes, onions, lentils, and shredded mixed vegetables, and to be really fancy, add some pine or pistachio nuts.