Bollywood couple Riteish and Genelia Deshmukh are launching a new vegan brand in India called Imagine Meats.
The acting duo has teamed up with the Good Food Institute (GFI) India, a nonprofit that promotes plant-based alternatives to animal products, and Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), a global ingredients manufacturer.
According to the Economic Times, working with ADM will allow Imagine Meats access to food science expertise, product development, and flavors in the U.S., as well as Singapore and Berlin.
The Deshmukhs are both vegetarians. According to Riteish, while he occasionally craves the taste and texture of meat, he is able to satisfy that craving with plant-based alternatives. He told the Economic Times, “with plant-based meats around, I am a much happier vegetarian.”
Genelia says Imagine Meats is for people who enjoy the taste of meat but don’t want the negative environmental and health consequences of consuming animal products.
“I have always been focused on the kind of planet we are leaving behind for our children,” she said in a statement.
‘India Can be a Lynchpin of Growth’
The meat industry is unsustainable. Globally, animal agriculture accounts for 14.5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. That’s according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
India is home to the highest number of vegetarians in the world, but meat consumption there is rising. According to CLFMA of India—an association of animal feed manufacturers—this is due to rising disposable incomes. It’s also down to a growing population and changing food habits.
However, according to GFI India’s managing director Varun Deshpande, there is also significant potential for plant-based meats in the country.
He told the Economic Times, “with our agricultural biodiversity and the opportunity to benefit our farmers and talented workforce, India can be a lynchpin of growth for the global sector.”
By 2030, UBS analysts predict the global vegan meat market could reach a value of $85 billion.
According to Genelia, both her and Riteish have seen “first-hand the innovation underway in the global food industry.”
This encouraged them to take the “big step” and launch Imagine Meats.
She said: “We want Imagine Meats to be the choice for anybody seeking the taste of meat, without the guilt of environmental and public health impacts.“