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Vegannovative Solutions

We aim to create an ecological balance by providing sustainable, efficient and superior plant based animal food alternatives.

Photo of Kanishk Gupta
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Lead Applicant Organization Name

Vegannovative Solution Pvt Ltd

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small company (under 50 employees)

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.

Department of food engineering and technology - Institute of chemical technology, Mumbai.

Website of Legally Registered Entity

https://www.pilk.in

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • Under 1 year

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?

Bengaluru

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

India

Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Western Uttar Pradesh, India - comprising of cities like Agra, Mathura, Meerut, Noida, Kanpur etc.

What country is your selected Place located in?

India

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

Hailing from Meerut, a large district situated in the region of Western Uttar Pradesh, I have grown up in a middle-class household living life as regular as the 60% of Indian Population belonging to the same category. Like every other 18-year-old belonging to a regular middle-class household, had to leave for pursuing higher studies and fulfil my aspirations by breaking the shackles of middle-class Indians.

After travelling to the various corners of India, I have witnessed a panorama of economic, cultural, social and culinary variations. But one constant observation is, the culinary habit originated from the stone age are still followed which largely depends on animal-based food. Animal-based products have been an inevitable part of our regular diet, be it dairy or meat.

Having spent my teenage years in urban India, have noticed the trend of people adopting healthy eating habits and health-conscious diets. On the contrary, the suburban and rural India is unaware of any such trend as always. This observation gets strengthened whenever I visit my hometown where I observed little or no change in the eating habits of people there.

This no change in eating behaviour is partly due to the lifestyle they are used to and partly because almost all of them are unaware that the health problems they are facing are mostly because of their unhealthy eating habits. Also, having been through almost every corner of the region what surprises me most is their fondness towards dairy products and the volume of meat consumption being shot up over the last few years.

People suffering from health problems & disease like diabetes, high cholesterol, cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease is nothing new to hear about. The most disturbing picture I see is the difference between rich and poor in the society with one at the extremity of being deprived of the basic nutrients and the rich exploiting their access to luxuries in life, consuming junk and ignoring the nutritional needs.

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

The vast plain land of western Uttar Pradesh has important geographical, historical, political and economic significance on the map of India. The land has witnessed many major battles in history, from the mythological battle of Mahabharat to the beginning of 1857 revolt of Indian freedom. Agra, the former capital of the Mughal empire, resident of one of the seven wonders of the world, also plays an important strategic role. This region is also called as Harit Pradesh, Harit means Green which signifies the agricultural prosperity of the region and Pradesh means state.

The two major rivers - the Ganges and Yamuna helped farming and agriculture boom since the start of civilization. Wheat, rice, pulses, oilseeds, sugarcane and potatoes flourishes in the farms which feed the whole country. People also majorly rely on their local dairy vendors which contributes to 75% of the unorganised dairy market of the region.

The cultural diversity of the region is mesmerizing, with over 70% Hindus and 30% Muslims, people have different beliefs and lifestyle choices. Lord Krishna, born in the heartland of Mathura, is believed to be very fond of dairy products like cow milk & butter and has associated stories of fighting with bulls and giants alone. Inspired by these tales the mothers of the region want their child to match the same courageous and strength, which they think will be done by serving dairy products to their children. Muslims have different beliefs related to animal food, they are more fond of meat and celebrate festivals with the sacrifice of animals.

As it constitutes a major part of NCR (Non-capital region), it holds major political and economic significance too. As people in this region are starting to earn more with jobs in the booming IT sector, they have started spending more on food choices of eating out and eating junk from western joints like pizza, burgers etc along with including dairy products in their lives. But on the other hand, 65% of the population which is living in rural areas are not getting better even by an inch, many children suffer from malnutrition, water quality is degrading, people don’t have resources to even fulfil their basic meals of the day. 

18% of the population is at an all-time higher risk of cardiovascular diseases when calculated on the Framingham Risk Score. Despite consuming a high calcium diet from dairy and chickens, an estimated 20% of the population shows an abnormally high rate of osteopenia and osteoporosis.

One of the silver linings of the region is that it is blessed with all the major seasons with beautiful spring, to the lightning monsoon, serene autumn to chilling winter. All the seasons provide the necessary elements for sustainable livelihood in the vast plain state.

People here hope for a better lifestyle but most of them are not aware of the environmental impact it makes, the carbon footprint increases with each luxury spent. They are also not aware of the long-lasting problems of the food they are consuming. 

What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)

70000

What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?

10000000

Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

2020 -  Today our food system is facing major challenges, including how to feed a growing population, how to reduce rural poverty in the region, and how to manage ecosystem goods and services in light of environmental change. Over the last decade, it has become clear that a holistic framework is needed to address these complex issues. In my region, 80% of the population are non-vegetarians and most of the population consume dairy products as a staple food. The calorie and protein conversion ratio for animal-based products is around 15% and other nutrient profile also follow similar or lesser conversion ratio. In a country like India, Western UP where almost 18% of children under age 5 are wasted and 41% are underweight, this extremely poor calorie conversion ratio has played a significant role in the big picture of malnutrition. Hindu tradition sees cows as holy & divine hence dairy products are not only considered nutritious but also a gift of God. Similarly, Muslims have traditions of eating chicken & beef. People are not aware of the health and environmental effects of their food choices and blindly follow culture and comfort. Govt pushes subsidized policies to open dairy and poultry farms and then pushes policies to let these products be supplied in malnutrition and hunger prone areas, resulting in a vicious unsustainable cycle of inefficiency ration and limited supply of land and water resources. The counter plant-based parts are relatively costlier and thus unaffordable by the majority of the poor population of western UP. 

2050 - Rapid urbanization will shift most of the populations’ eating habits towards more unsustainable and unhealthy side like depending heavily on fast foods like chicken burgers, pizzas, rolls, cheese etc. Water requirements for 1 L milk, 1 Kg chicken & 1kg egg are approx. 1000L, 3,900L & 4000L respectively and western UP will be one of the most water-scarce regions in India. Greenhouse gas emissions from cattle and poultry will exceed all the other combined sources from factories and transports, hence will have a dramatic change in weather conditions leading to 70% farmable land degradation, droughts and floods. A lot of animal and plant species will be extinct, both rivers Ganga and Yamuna will be heavily polluted and their ecotones will be highly damaged thus leading to the extinction of the majority of clean water & marshland species leading to water scarcity in the region. Because of the huge amount of antibiotics used in animal agriculture, slowly antibiotics have lost their effectiveness on bacteria in people and now a lot more people are getting severely ill and untreatable. Owing to unhealthy diet habits, ecological imbalance, dirty water, degraded land and air quality a lot of diseases like diabetics, cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis and cancer will become an epidemic. These health issues will lead to a loss in productivity and thus the growth of the economy will be impaired further contributing to hunger and malnutrition. 

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

Our vision will enable people to shift to plant-based diets. As the population shifts to the plant-based diet, it will help in the ecological balance restoration at a rapid rate. Since, no middle agents (cows, chicken, goats etc.) will be involved in calorie and nutrient transfer from plant to people, the efficiency will improve a lot. In the same amount of crops, a larger section of people can be fed thus reducing hunger and malnutrition issues. This will lead to a huge reduction in water footprints and will save western UP from water scarcity issue in the future. 

The cultivable land share will increase and thus enable farmers to utilize land resources more efficiently further improving their economic status and curbing hunger issues. The greenhouse emissions in the form of methane and other high global warming potential gases released from animal agriculture and their waste management will be highly reduced and will play a significant role in fighting global warming and other related environmental issues. This will lead to a reduction in epidemics like diabetes type 2, cardiovascular diseases, cancers, osteoporosis, obesity, overweight, etc. Since people will live a healthier life on day to day and long term basis, their productivity will increase a lot and will help the economy to flourish. This will bring more money at government disposal to be used further in funding policies to innovate new and better technologies for efficient utilization of plant-based food resources, which will further play a major role in curbing hunger and malnutrition issues, especially among growing children. Thus the children will grow into healthy and more productive adults and will then help the economy positively to further grow.

The culture will embrace a new wave of awareness and will develop an understanding of the best way to feed people. The culture will also take account of the health and environmental damage associated with earlier food choices and will not force its religious sentiments on the food choices. This new wave of plant-based food industries might kill employment in dairy and animal harvesting sectors but at the same time will create many more jobs in plant-based foods’ related sectors and hence will play a major role in uplifting the whole society from poverty. The development of advanced technologies related to plant processing world will lead to a reduction in cost and easy availability of plant-based foods. The govt. policies which were earlier focussed on providing treatment of these deadly diseases will now be shifted to policies which will enable more research in plant-based sectors. This will lead to refinement in processing methods and creation of new innovative solutions to socio cum economic cum environmental problems. 

Thus western UP will be able to show the whole world a better way to eat healthy, responsibly and sustainably.

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

Our vision starts with a beautiful dream of a land where an ecological balance has finally been re-established, where people are healthy and children don’t have to sleep empty bellied at night any more.  People have shifted completely to more organic plant-based diets. Hunger and malnutrition have almost vanished. People are fully aware of the health and environmental aspects of their food choices. Chronic health problems related to dietary choices like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis,  obesity, hypertension, etc. have been highly reduced. 

People have become a lot healthier on a day to day and long term basis both. It has increased their productivity by a great margin and thus the economy is prospering because of active and healthy participation from them. People don’t have to do any adjustment related to taste and organoleptic pleasures as the availability of plant-based dairy, eggs and meat analogues are in abundance and at affordable pricing and convenience because of high advancement in related technologies. 

Children are not wasted or underweight and the mortality rate has greatly decreased owing to adequate nutrient supply to them according to their age groups. Plant-based foods are totally embraced in cultures throughout the ethnic diversity. Now people don’t let their religious views overpower them against logical awareness related to their food choices. 

Dairy farms have been replaced by alternate plant milk industries which effectively utilises the plant resources and provide all the nutrient requirements to the people. Similarly, chicken and poultry farms have been replaced by meat and egg alternative plant-based industries. Antibiotics have not lost their effect on bacterial infections in people and are working with relevant effectiveness. Govt view has also changed and now they push for an even greater budget for research and innovation in plant-based functional foods and nutritions. 

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

Our vision aims to create a vegan ecosystem in which all the dietary requirements of the population get fulfilled completely from the plant-based food sources. In western UP dairy products are excessively consumed owing to cultural and nutritional beliefs. In this region, we aim to replace this by creating plant-based milk products which, along with satisfying taste and functional properties, will also have a better nutrient profile including those nutrients which people in this region generally lack like Vit. D, B12, calcium, protein, magnesium, potassium etc. but will not have any of the negative effects associated with dairy products like saturated fat, cholesterol, lactose (70% of the western UP population are lactose intolerant), high amount of phosphorus, sodium, etc. Along with numerous health benefits, this will also save the environment from a lot of high GWP greenhouse gases, land & water degradation, waste management etc. We also aim to replace meat and eggs by plant-based products which will have a similar impact on health and environment as was the case in dairy products replacement. 

Western UP also need special nutrient requirements according to different age groups and conditions, like to curb high infant mortality rate pregnant mothers need high Iron-folic acid rich food, to curb stunting (52% current rate), underweight (42%) & wasting (20%) among children under age 5, they need foods rich in Vitamins A, Iodine, Iron, high essential fatty acids, dietary fibres, proteins, etc. By developing new enzymes and fermentation processes and their application using different microbes, we aim to innovate nutrition extraction techniques in order to provide functional foods directly targeted to the varying needs of different segments of the population. Like the functional foods targeted to children, adults, male, female and elderly people will be accordingly different at a nutritional level, meeting specific requirements of each group. These all will be possible by our innovative nutrients extraction techniques by excelling in biotech space. This will aim to end all hunger and malnutrition-related issues in the region. Thus boosting the health and productivity of the population at each level and in each segment.

There are a lot of plant sources whose nutrients profile are not well documented and are not used as a contributing material to get the required nutrient profile. Owing to the huge opportunity of research and innovative scope in this area, we aim to create a database of composition, nutrients, taste, texture, physical, sensory and other functional properties of all plant-based sources and microbes. Then Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence programs will be implemented to get the best combination of plant-based sources to obtain the desired nutrient and functional profile of the end products. This will lead to a cost-effective and convenient alternative solution to all the existing animal-based products. Like people will be more than willing to switch to the plant-based product if they provide better nutrients and taste profile and are cost-effective & convenient. Artificial intelligence combined with innovative Biotech processes will provide enough technological push needed for the change in the current scenario.

A revolution is ignited by an idea but then it needs fuels to accelerate it through further stages of exploration, and for boosting the ecosystem we aim to provide the fuel which will be a platform where suppliers from all the regions of western UP can provide their plant-based products to customers throughout the region. We aim to develop an e-commerce platform where suppliers can easily find consumers for their plant-based products and similarly consumers can conveniently find the products according to their requirement. The platform aims to categorise products into all possible segments and all of their possible combinations. The platform will also be AI-enabled and will provide consumers with the best product solutions according to their age, medical condition, nutrient requirement, mood, dietary and physical targets set by them. We also aim to extend this platform to brick and mortar retail stores which will provide a similar experience. We aim to create a chain of retail stores throughout the western UP which will make the whole process too convenient and economical for the consumers thus fueling further the demand for plant-based products among people. 

One of the most tenacious roadblocks which we will be facing in our journey would be the lack of awareness among people. Most of the population are educated but simply not aware of the ill effects of their food choices on health and the environment. We aim to create awareness channels like blogs, websites, newsletters, social media, PR team, podcasts, digital shows, printed magazines, etc. that will teach people about the positive and negative impact of their food choices and how they are systematically linked to much bigger cause. We aim to bring this logical awareness into the cultural level of the population. We aim to make them look beyond their religious perspectives and think at a logical level. The aim will be to bring permanent cultural change in the way people associate with their food choices. We aim to bring more and more educated and well aware nutritionist, environmentalists, etc. on the platform and make them release statements, studies, testimonies, etc. through our channels. This will play a deciding role in how fast the population dietary habits change to plant-based.

In the fast-moving urban life of western UP, no one gets enough time to pay attention to their food choices and they grab whatever they get on their way or between their working hours. In recent times something happened which have even accelerated this unhealthy and unsustainable food choices epidemic. This is the westernized fast food chains mushrooming at an unprecedented rate,  serving chicken burgers, wraps, rolls, pizzas, etc. whatever they serve are full of unhealthy ingredients and even add further to health issues which people are facing. So what is the choice? Well, we aim to replace these chains with healthy and sustainable vegan food joints. We aim to provide naturally processed ready to eat healthy plant-based food options. These vegan food joints will strategically help the fast-growing urban population to maintain their health and energy level and in turn, the environment will get benefited as a by-product. 

The vision of ecological balance by creating the vegan ecosystem can overshadow the estimated milestones and timelines if we can bring the like-minded visionaries to the common platform. For this, we have planned to license the technologically advanced products like newly developed enzymes, advanced fermentation technique, AI platform, any other intellectual property etc. to our fellow visionaries in plant-based food space. We will also set up knowledge sharing collaborative sessions and will share resources and other relevant information which will enable this field to grow at an even faster pace.

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Website

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Thank you very much

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