AAK Kamani, AAK’s majority-owned Indian joint venture, has partnered with the Good Food Institute India to collaborate on research and business promotion aimed at advancing India’s highly promising market for plant-based meat and dairy alternatives.

Through the partnership, AAK’s Customer Innovation Center in Mumbai will host AAK KAMANI ACADEMY sessions designed to help businesses and entrepreneurs take advantage of the significant opportunities that exist in India’s plant-based foods category.

Snacks like breaded cheese bites, nuggets, snack sausages and other finger foods are ideal applications for plant-based food innovation. For dairy and meat alternatives it is possible to replicate the creaminess of the cheese and the juiciness of the meat with the right solution of oils and fats.

Fat is a key ingredient in many bakery products and many of our bakery oils and fats are suitable for use in plant-based products. The choice is wide as for each application certain characteristics are required. It is important that vegan alternatives deliver the sensory appeal of the products they are imitating, with a variety of taste and texture profiles. For example, butter alternatives can improve the nutritional profile and allow the finished product to taste, feel, smell, and look like a traditional butter-based cake or cookie. With AAK's collaborative approach and our capabilities in recipe creation, product development, and beyond, AAK can help optimize plant-based bakery products.

With support from the Good Food Institute India, AAK will also provide co-development expertise on how companies can accelerate the formulation of new products, with a particular focus on achieving optimal texture and appealing to local tastes. The collaboration is closely linked to AAK’s global AkoPlanet initiative, which provides a platform for plant-based food innovations.

Dheeraj Talreja, president of AAK Kamani, said: “This collaboration means we can provide more support to both established food producers and start-ups, promoting the fast-track development of plant-based meat and dairy alternatives for the Indian market. We are particularly excited to work with the Good Food Institute India. As a non-profit organization, it is globally recognized for supporting the development of sustainable and healthy plant-based foods.”

Niall Sands, president Plant-based Foods at AAK, added: “Developing great-tasting plant-based foods is one of the main challenges today. There are a lot of good products on the market already. However, to maintain the growing interest in plant-based foods we must continue to improve the sensory experience. From a global perspective we also need to be mindful of the need to adapt to regional taste preferences. This is why I’m so pleased to start our collaboration with the Good Food Institute in India.”

Varun Deshpande, managing director at the Good Food Institute India, commented: “The challenges of climate change, antimicrobial resistance and food insecurity presented by the world’s reliance on animal protein supply chains have been underscored by the COVID-19 public health crisis. Accelerating the development of the plant-based meat, egg and dairy sector is therefore imperative to building a more secure and resilient protein supply. Indian businesses and scientists have immense potential to be at the center of this development, driving affordability and sensory experiences as well as cultural appeal in transformative plant-based foods – but they need support on their journey. We’re delighted to have pioneering corporate partners like AAK Kamani in our mission for smart protein. Their ingredients and co-development expertise will be integral to building a more healthy, sustainable and just global food system.”