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APEDA Sets up Committee to Draft Vegan Product Manufacturing Standards

Demand for plant-based meat alternatives has increased in international markets as consumers have become more health conscious.

Shivam Dwivedi
Vegan Diet
Vegan Diet

The Agricultural Produce Exports Development Authority (APEDA) has formed a committee to draft regulations and standards for the production of vegan products for the export market as demand for plant-based meat alternatives grows.

The General Manager of APEDA, V.K. Vidyarthi told Krishi Jagran that increasing agricultural food production is essential since its absence causes significant losses in the nation's agricultural sector at the field level. Exporting vegan products primarily serves the purpose of raising the current value addition of agricultural products, which is only 2 to 3%.

He also said that people must first understand vegan products in their true form. For instance, soybeans are extracted to create what is known as soya chaap in the desi language. This chaap has a meat-like texture and tastes like meat.

"We must ensure a steady supply of high-quality vegan products on the international market." It has been observed that many countries are still unable to distinguish which ingredients are permitted and which are not. APEDA has formed a committee of scientists and exporters to develop regulations and standards for vegan products. "We must align these standards with the requirements of importing countries," Vidyarthi added.

APEDA, which has held several meetings in this regard, will soon hold meetings with European countries, Canada, and the United States to develop a procedure for drafting standards, he said. Furthermore, in order to strengthen the agri-supply chain for vegan products, good manufacturing practices, good hygiene practices, and good agricultural practices must be implemented, in addition to the deployment of technologies such as barcoding and traceability among others, Vidyarthi said.

Following Covid, demand for plant-based meat alternatives has increased in international markets as consumers have become more health conscious. "There is a high demand for vegan and plant-based meat protein products in the international market, including the United States, Europe, Japan, Korea, and Australia."

"India has a high potential for vegan or plant-based protein products because we have a good supply of raw materials used as enzymes, additives, and colours in vegan products," Vidyarthi said. Such vegan products are currently exported in small quantities, but they have the potential to become very popular.

Vidyarthi further said that all the vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and proteins that our body needs, we should not take it from any animal but from a plant. The advantage of this is that whatever animal waste will come out, we can utilize it in farming. In addition, cow manure can be used as a fertilizer by farmers. Cow urine can also be utilized as a biological insecticide at the same time.

The Good Food Institute's Managing Director, Varun Deshpande, stated that harmonization of regulations for vegan and plant-based products for export is required to make the sector competitive in the international market. "We think it's a fantastic development," he said, "and we're working with the committee to develop the standards."

In India, the market for plant-based protein alternatives is still in its early stages, though awareness is growing. While companies like GoodDot, Blue Tribe, and Shaka Harry have been selling plant-based meat alternatives, the segment has recently piqued the interest of large players like Tata Consumer Goods and ITC.

Crops like pulses, soybeans, and millets are the mainstays of vegan products and are grown in places where water consumption is less. In such a situation, in view of the problems of water in the agriculture sector, farmers can adopt this, so that they will not have to suffer losses in the future. Apart from this, the waste of pulses can also be used as animal feed.

APEDA's Vegan Product Export Model

APEDA will work on two models for vegan product exports, one is Agriculture Supply Chain and the other is Export Marketing. In which all the problems like production, quality, orientation, technology, technology, etc. in the agriculture sector, will be addressed by APEDA and after that, there are Krishi Vigyan Kendras, Agriculture Universities, technical experts for redressal, farmers can take their help to eliminate the gap.   

Vidyarthi further said that the interest of vegan products among people will not have a negative impact on the animal husbandry sector. This is because agriculture and animal husbandry are companions of each other. Everything derived from the animal can be used in agriculture.

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