India-based startup Good Dot announced this week the launch of its flagship product, a vegan alternative to mutton—or sheep meat, the second most-consumed meat product in India. “The stereotype of India as a vegetarian country is increasingly wrong,” Good Dot CEO Abhishek Sinha said. “Upwards of 70 percent of people do eat meat, and India has the opportunity to take a better path than the West when it comes to meeting our country’s growing demand for meat.” Good Dot CFO Deepak Parihar hopes its products reverse India’s trend toward becoming a country with a diminishing number of vegetarians. “The younger generations and growing middle class are pushing India away from its roots as a vegetarian country,” Parihar said. “By developing a healthier product that provides the taste and texture of meat, for the same price, we can reverse the trend toward non-veg.” The product—simply branded as “Vegetarian Meat”—is made with a combination of soy, wheat, and pea proteins, and is now available at 7,500 stores across India. While all of Good Dot’s meat alternatives will be free from animal products, the company uses the term “vegetarian” to describe them, as “vegan” is not yet a common term in India. The startup plans to launch vegetarian chicken and “proteiz” (a high-protein meat alternative) in the coming months. Stephanie Downs, Good Dot’s only American co-founder, believes the company is launching during an amenable time. “This is by far the hottest area of food tech in the United States,” Downs said, citing widespread interest in the emerging industry from technology investors such as Google founder Sergey Brin, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, actor Leonardo DiCaprio, and billionaire Richard Branson—who believes the world will be meat-free in 30 years.
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