Genelia and Ritesh Deshmukh

Genelia and Ritesh Deshmukh

Imagine Meats, a start-up offering plant-based alternatives to meat, has been launched by Bollywood actors Genelia and Ritesh Deshmukh.

The couple is working with ingredients giant ADM on the development of the products, which are expected to be unveiled "through various channels in [the] coming months", a statement said.

ADM "worked closely with the Deshmukhs … to craft the most authentic delicacies to cater to Indian palates – think juicy kebabs, biryanis and curries", it added.

Genelia Deshmukh said: "Seeing first-hand the innovation underway in the global food industry, Riteish and I were encouraged to take this big step and bring to you delicious foods which are so much better for the planet. We want Imagine Meats to be the choice for anybody seeking the taste of meat, without the guilt of environmental and public health impacts – just as it will be for our own family."

Almost 80% of the Indian population practice Hindusim but, contrary to popular belief, far from all Hindus are vegetarian. Moreover, meat consumption in India, though relatively low on a per-capita basis by global standards, is expected to rise.

The Deshmukhs have been advised on the launch of the business and products by The Good Food Institute, the US non-profit that advocates for plant-based alternatives to meat, dairy and eggs.

Varun Deshpande, the managing director of The Good Food Institute's operations in India, set up in 2017, said the country is "taking its first steps, in a sector which is soaring globally and demonstrating a model to save the planet".

He added: "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. Covid-19 has underscored that we can no longer take our planet for granted."

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