Home Exploring the Future of Food: Smart Protein Products Tasting Event

In a world where food choices impact the environment, smart proteins are emerging as a sustainable solution, using significantly fewer resources to feed a growing global population!

The food industry is currently experiencing a shift towards sustainability and healthy food options. Alternative protein sources are gaining popularity due to increasing consumer demand. Despite challenges such as disrupted supply chains, raw material shortages, and rising input prices, this industry is accelerating. As a result, stakeholders are focusing on developing products that align with changing consumer preferences. Startups focusing on developing alternative proteins are receiving investments and major players in the industry are collaborating to support growth.

Industry players are keen to create innovative food products using smart protein sources that offer unique value propositions such as reduced carbon footprint or health claims. Plant-based protein extraction technology has led to higher yields and increased value creation. The integration of innovation and technology across the innovative foods industry has enabled businesses to diversify their product offerings and revamp their business models. To drive down costs, improve flavor profiles, and boost awareness, it is crucial to stimulate consumer demand. This intersection of technology, innovation, and consumer engagement is fundamentally reshaping the plant-based protein sector, propelling it toward a more sustainable and prosperous future.

In the realm of plant-based meat, taste, and freshness are paramount considerations for consumers. This is especially true for meat enthusiasts who seek a plant-based alternative that mirrors the taste and texture of traditional meat. To stand out in this competitive landscape, a company must pivot towards a consumer-centric approach. This involves meticulously segmenting the market into distinct groups and delving deep into the individual preferences of consumers. This level of understanding ensures a seamless alignment between product offerings and consumer desires.


Smart Protein Forum – Event

At the recent “Smart Protein Forum,” a collaborative initiative led by TDU, Bengaluru (Bangalore), in conjunction with esteemed partners GFI India and Brabender GmbH & Co. KG, FutureBridge Agri, Food, and Nutrition experts had the honor of being part of an intellectually invigorating gathering. The event not only offered profound enlightenment but also served as an invaluable platform for dynamic dialogues on the future of protein innovation.

The event featured two main sessions: an engaging “Ask-Me-Anything” segment followed by an immersive tour of TDU’s innovative plant processing lab facility and a live tasting experience.

Ask-Me-Anything – Session

The “Ask-Me-Anything” session of the Smart Protein Forum hosted three enlightening panel discussions led by distinguished experts in technology, business, and culinary arts. Each session culminated in an interactive Q&A session, covering topics such as:

  1. Developing next-generation plant-based products and building a smart protein talent pool. The experts delved into the extrusion, processing, and science of plant-based meat alternatives.
  2. Discussing crucial questions with industry frontrunners in the ‘meat’ market. The focus here was on price, consumer perception, industry landscape, future trends, and more.
  3. Exploring culinary artistry with smart protein and its nutritional prowess, guided by esteemed chefs, culinary experts, and nutritionists.

Plant Processing Laboratory Tour and Live Tasting Session

Following the panel discussions, we had the opportunity to participate in a guided tour of the TDU plant processing lab and participate in live tasting sessions of both high and low-moisture textured proteins. We witnessed TDU’s innovative twin extrusion technology in full operation.

. The tasting session offered a diverse range of smart protein products meticulously crafted to mirror the taste, texture, and nutritional profile of conventional animal-based foods. The impressive selection included plant-based nuggets, fermentation-based brownies, customized Indian flavors, plant-based products, and functional beverages. Attendees ranging from food enthusiasts to industry experts eagerly learned about the future of food in India. Personally, Richa, our expert found the lab tour inspiring, and the live-tasting experience was intriguing and mouth-watering.

We tasted the following products at the event.

1. Microbial protein-based cookies

String-bio, an Indian startup had designed brownies and cookies using microbial proteins. They specialize in developing next-generation ingredients to enable sustainability and traceability in evolving value chains using fermentation technology. This is an emerging and promising area of research and development in the smart protein industry. The taste and texture of brownies and cookies were at par with the traditional baked products. The company is in the process of regulatory filings and looking forward to approval by 2025.


Microbial protein-based cookies

Microbial protein-based cookies

2. Soy-based chicken and meat

Griffith Foods a global product development partner, with an extensive portfolio of smart protein ingredients, specializing in food ingredients from seasoning and sauces to bread, coatings, flavors, bakery products, and more has made customized Indian flavor products – soy-based chicken and soy-based meat for the event. The company has. The taste of the products was close to traditional chicken and meat, and its sizzling aroma drew a crowd eager to sample this plant-based wonder. However, Richa felt that the texture of the products needs some improvement for the overall mouthfeel experience.


Soy-based chicken and meat

Soy-based chicken and meat

3. Soy-based chicken nuggets

The University of Trans-Disciplinary Health Sciences and Technology (TDU), sponsored by the FRLHT Trust had soy-based chicken nuggets with added chicken flavor, The TDU was legislated by the Government of Karnataka in 2013. The University promotes trans-disciplinary research and education. Ayurveda biology is one core focus of TDU, and with this knowledge base, they have an extensive R&D unit focused on different plant-based smart proteins. The taste replicated the traditional chicken experience due to the chicken flavor and soy-based texture and gave the crispy nuggets a pleasing aroma.


Soy-based chicken nuggets

Soy-based chicken nuggets

4. Pea-based functional beverage

A scientist at TDU has created a nutritious drink using pea milk and Brahmi ghee aiming to provide cognitive and joint/muscle health benefits for the elderly population. The researcher conducted a comparative study to compare the effectiveness of Brahmi ghee, Brahmi capsules, and a healthy drink made with Brahmi ghee.

While the Brahmi capsules are too large to be consumed without difficulty, the ghee has a strong odor that makes it unpleasant for direct consumption. However, combined with a beverage, Brahmi ghee provides functional benefits and ease of consumption. Initially formulated with cow-based milk, the drink is now refined with pea-based milk, aligning with the growing trend toward plant-based dairy alternatives. As the beverage is in its initial phase, it has a lingering aftertaste that needs to be addressed using technology such as encapsulation to mask it. Despite this, Richa believes that the drink represents a significant innovation in the event, provided the scientists can successfully address this aspect.


Pea-based functional beverage

Pea-based functional beverage


The Smart Protein event made a profound impact on the participants, sparking insightful discussions and contemplations on the future of smart proteins in India. It served as a vital platform for food scientists, start-ups, and consumers to engage in meaningful conversations about the potential of smart protein sources in tailoring to Indian flavors and preferences.

While the tastings were invigorating, there remain questions about the scalability and affordability, both in India and on a global scale. Collaborative efforts between researchers, policymakers, and the food industry will be pivotal in ensuring these products reach a wider audience.

In conclusion, the smart protein products tasting event provided glimpses into a more sustainable and diverse food future. The event showcased innovative plant-based creations challenging existing norms and microbial proteins revolutionizing the realm of meat production. It celebrated the creativity and determination of those working to reshape our food systems. As Indian consumers explore these new products, staying attuned to the smart protein industry and its evolving trends will be essential in shaping the future of food.

To gain advanced insights on the future of smart proteins and their potential in reshaping the food industry contact us and stay ahead of the curve in sustainable food innovations.

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