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Indian plant-based protein start-up Imagine Meats has marked its commercial launch with a range of chicken and mutton alternatives.

The business, set up by Bollywood actors Riteish and Genelia Deshmukh to develop Indian inspired meat-free products in conjunction with US firm Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), has made its debut in Mumbai.

Reportedly delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the initial line-up of products features keemas, kebabs, nuggets, burgers and biryanis. They are available on Imagine Meats’ website and in stores of Reliance Retail, one of India’s largest retailers, and local online supermarket Nature’s Basket.

Additional channels will follow in the “coming months”, along with further new products, Imagine Meats said in a statement.

Mr Deshmukh said: “As a former carnivore, I know that millions like me are looking for a solution to their meat cravings. We spent years looking for the perfect fix, until we decided to make it ourselves – and we’ve worked for over two years to make this a reality. With our wide range of craveable plant-based meats, we want to enable everybody to Imagine Meat.”

The launch on Friday (10 September) coincided with the 10-day Ganesh Chaturthi Hindu festival, also known as Vinayaka Chaviti. The majority of India’s population are Hindu but not all are strictly vegetarian.

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Imagine Meats’ development has been guided by The Good Food Institute (GFI), the US non-profit organisation that promotes plant-based alternatives to meat, dairy and eggs within the framework of environmental sustainability.

Varun Deshpande, the managing director of GFI’s India division, said: “The clock is ticking on climate change, food and water insecurity, and public health crises like future pandemics. Plant-based meats offer huge promise to provide consumers and producers with a simple switch rather than a sacrifice, and the launch of Imagine Meats is an exciting development towards making this a reality and helping the Indian market for smart protein truly take off.”