Editorial Team

The Good Food Institute India (GFI India), the central expert organization and convening body in the ‘alternative protein’ or ‘smart protein’ sector, is back with its annual flagship event, The Smart Protein Summit from November 10-12, 2021. The virtual summit is poised to be the most impactful event for the smart protein ecosystem in India, with the objective of designing a more secure, sustainable, and just food system – one which stewards planetary health, tackles malnutrition, benefits farmers, and creates jobs for millions. The Smart Protein Summit 2021 will dive deep into the science, business, policy, and technology behind smart protein. It will bring together the most important stakeholders within the ecosystem: businesses, venture capital firms, entrepreneurs, scientists, students, researchers, and policymakers, with the purpose of moving from dialogue to action.

Set against the backdrop of the Global Conference of Parties (COP26), the Smart Protein Summit will advance critical discussions and actions towards building a new pillar of the green economy. All over the world, innovators are producing the future of protein — delicious, nutritious meat, eggs, and dairy, made from plants, cells, and microorganisms, with vastly better implications for planetary and public health. It’s become clear that the world needs a more secure, sustainable, and just food system — and the smart protein sector is building exactly that. The essential Summit on smart protein is curated and convened by The Good Food Institute India (GFI) and supported by sponsors who are central to the food, agricultural, and biotech landscape: Title Sponsors AAK, ADM, IFF, Laurus Bio; Key Sponsors Buhler, Connell, Griffith Foods, Reliance Industries Limited, Symega, Sun Nutrafood, VKL.

The Summit’s 1,500+ attendees will hugely benefit from the perspectives of over 70 speakers and thought leaders across science, government, research, venture capital, development, enterprise, and industry on one common platform. The Summit will focus on further growing the smart protein ecosystem for India to lead in the smart protein space race, in keeping with countries like Canada, Israel, the Netherlands, and the UK – who are centering smart protein within their economic growth stories.

Varun Deshpande, Managing Director, The Good Food Institute India, said, “Smart protein is a pivotal piece of our fight against climate change, future pandemics, and malnutrition, and an opportunity to build a thriving pillar of our new economy. If we don’t act now, we risk being left behind – feeding 10 billion people by 2050 means reimagining the way we make our food and particularly protein. The Smart Protein Summit Summit will pave the way for further transformation of food systems by bringing together key actors across government, industry, and science, and envisioning a Mission for Smart Protein .”
Varun further added that, “The story of the smart protein sector in the developing world, in countries like India, is just beginning to unfold. Today, we’re at a critical juncture within India’s smart protein story. Over the last year, even as the Covid-19 pandemic raged on, we’ve seen multiple smart protein startups launch and go to market, interest from corporates increase manifold, and awareness around these novel foods mature. We’re witnessing movement within the Indian smart protein ecosystem like never before, with trailblazing startups up and running, a host of prominent corporates venturing into the sector, consortia formed to advance dialogue and discourse around regulatory and policy matters, and increased coverage from mainstream media.”

The Smart Protein Summit is an online event, as it was last year. The Smart Protein Summit 2020 saw eminent speakers come together to unpack the large-scale impact that smart protein can have on our future. Indra Nooyi, former Chairperson and CEO of PepsiCo, in her keynote speech at the Smart Protein Summit 2020 said, “The world needs to focus on getting healthy. The world needs protein and we have to find a sustainable way of offering protein. In many countries, carbohydrates are abundant, there’s an abundance of fats and sugars. However, protein is the most expensive source of nutrition on a per calorie basis. So, we have to figure out how to give people great nutritional offerings which are protein-rich and, at the same time, address this issue of our relationship with livestock.”

This year, the Summit is set to move the smart protein sector forward even further. The keynote speakers for the Smart Protein Summit 2021 are Suresh Narayanan, MD & Chairman of Nestle India Limited; Siraj Chaudhary, MD & CEO, NCML, Former Chairman, Cargill India, Board Member of Tata Consumer Products, Tata Coffee, Jubilant Ingrevia, and others; and Uma Valeti, MD, CEO/Founder at UPSIDE Foods. The Summit will have panelists such as Genelia Deshmukh, Co-Founder of plant-based startup Imagine Meats, Arun Seth, public sector leader and Board Member of Narayana Health, Jubilant Foodworks, Kent RO; Gauri Devidayal, Co-Founder, Food Matters and restaurateur at Magazine Street Kitchen & Mag Street Cafe; Rajeev Chitrabhanu, Founder, Magnetic VC; Anya Eldan, VP, Israel Innovation Authority; Srivalli Krishnan, Senior Program Officer, Global Development at Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and other stakeholders that move the smart protein sector forward like no one else.

Topics that will be covered during The Smart protein Summit 2021 include building smart protein infrastructure, financing the transformation across the smart protein landscape, building an enabling environment for bio-based foods, plant-based startups at the frontier of innovation, nurturing biotech to mega-scale, scaling the plant-based supply chain, regulatory paths to market, and other thought-provoking sessions across the science, business, and policy behind smart protein. The Summit will focus on the need to invest in foundational science, entrepreneurship, infrastructure, and talent – imperative to building back better as we recover from devastating waves of a pandemic.

Conversations will also revolve around building effective sources of protein on the planet, improving nutritional outcomes for roughly 2 billion people around the world, many of them in India, who suffer from micronutrient deficiency or malnutrition, and creating smart protein products that mimic animal-derived foods from a sensorial perspective and taste the same or better, or cost the same or less, creating an entirely new category of plant-based, cultivated, and fermentation-derived protein foods.

Last year’s Summit was also full of announcements and launches, like GFI India’s Startup Manual – an exhaustive one-stop resource that contains all the guidance an entrepreneur needs to create innovative smart protein products – and this year is no different. Over the last year, GFI India has seen major progress in the smart protein sector, and the Smart Protein Summit 2021 is the place to learn all about these developments.

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