In a big boost to the government's export vision for India, the first-ever consignment of plant-based meat products was exported to the US. The government facilitated the export of plant-based meat products under the vegan food category through its apex export promotion body -- Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Authority (APEDA).

The plant-based meat product consignment included an assorted variety of items. India sent 5,000 kg worth of mini samosas, hot and spicy strips, momos, spring rolls, nuggets, and grilled patty, among other products, the Ministry of Commerce & Industry said in a statement on Thursday.

Plant based meat, replacing traditional meat.
Plant based meat, replacing traditional meat.IANS

"With the growing popularity of vegan food products in developed countries, the plant-based food products have a huge export potential in the international market due to the high nutrient value of the vegan food products," the ministry said.

The consignment was shipped from Nadiad in the Kheda district of Gujarat to California, US. With the high nutritional value of vegan food products, complete with rich fibre and lesser cholesterol contents, people are turning to the new food alternative across the globe.

"The Indian plant-based industry is maturing at a breakneck speed both in terms of the quality and variety that it is able to offer. We are delighted to see this consignment heading for the USA —which is one of the biggest markets currently for plant-based foods. It is a market with clear and stringent benchmarks for acceptable standards. This is just the beginning, and there is a long way for us to go as an industry," Pradeep Rao, co-founder and CEO of Evolved Foods, told International Business Times. 

"Given the unique whole-muscle texture of our product(s), we are seeing significant demand coming from East Asia, Europe, and Middle East markets due to the growing consumer demand for plant-based, cruelty-free meats," he added.

Animal meat exports to remain unaffected

The government's aim is to promote plant-based meat products without disturbing the conventional animal-based meat export market, APEDA chairman M Angamuthu said.

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"The APEDA has planned to promote a variety of vegan foods products, including pancake, snacks, cheese, etc, to the countries of Australia, Israel, New Zealand and others in coming months," the ministry said.

India's exports of animal products in 2021-22 were Rs 30,953 crores, which includes major products like buffalo meat, accounting for the majority value worth Rs 24613.24 crores, followed by sheep and goat meat (Rs 447.58 crores), poultry products (Rs 529.80 crores), and more. India had emerged as the largest producer of milk with a 20.75 percent share in total milk production in the world in 2020. The demand for Indian buffalo meat in the international market has also sparked a sudden increase in meat exports.