The India – Netherlands Smart Protein Corridor
by Nicole Rocque – August 31, 2020

The global alternative protein (or, as we like to call it at GFI India, ‘smart protein’) sector is expanding rapidly, with governments, private industry, entrepreneurs, and investors taking note of the substantial benefits with regard to land use, climate change, environmental pollution, and public health risk factors. The Kingdom of the Netherlands has already played a major role in the growth of the sector, with cultivated meat pioneer Dr Mark Post leading the first research project for lamb meat cultivated from cells back in 2013. The sector has taken major strides since, and with significant funding dedicated towards a ‘Protein Shift’ the Netherlands is at the forefront of advances in protein ingredient development, protein end-product innovation and protein processing technologies.

At GFI India we recognize the immense potential to catalyze the growth of alternative proteins from world-leading markets such as the Netherlands to new ones such as India. India offers specific value to the international ecosystem – with a robust biopharmaceutical, and food manufacturing industry, India can do a great deal to drive down the cost of the sector globally. India’s promising agricultural biodiversity also presents an opportunity to plant-based protein companies world-wide, leveraging underutilized, diversified, high-protein crop varieties that could lend themselves to more functional or cleaner label products. We see an opportunity for Dutch expertise to elevate India’s protein capabilities and processing capacity to create joint value that focuses on serving growing consumer demands in markets across the U.S., E.U., and Asia.

Through the Smart Protein Corridors Initiative, GFI India has been deepening and leveraging bilateral relationships with key Dutch stakeholders across the Indian alternative protein framework, including – 

(1) Knowledge Institutes and Universities: encouraging scientific partnership among experts to further scientific development in the area; 

(2) Businesses and Investors: promoting international collaboration in the smart protein sector;

(3) Government and Policy Makers: promoting cross-country engagement, and access to international collaborations.

GFI India has been developing relationships over the last several years with universities and researchers including the National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM – north of New Delhi), the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB – Hyderabad), the Institute of Chemical Technology (Mumbai), etc. in India, and Wageningen University & Research (WUR), a pioneering Dutch institute for alternative protein research. Knowledge transfer between these researchers and labs would go a significant way towards accelerating the growth of the sector in India and building cross-country collaboration.

As part of an ongoing engagement with key stakeholders in the Netherlands, GFI India hosted an ‘Opportunities for Plant-based Protein in India’ webinar in May 2020, in collaboration with The Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands and The Protein Cluster, A Foodvalley NL business network connecting plant-protein start-ups and corporates worldwide, and saw attendance from 65+ Dutch participants from prominent business and investment houses. As a followup to this webinar, the Embassy has funded exciting research into the plant protein ecosystem in India, in partnership with GFI India, and other expert organizations.

Additionally, GFI India is a partner to the International FoodValley Summit 2020, and will be participating in sessions on the ‘Protein Shift: Asia’, wherein we have helped to curate participation from Indian entrepreneurs and investors. The Embassy’s research on the Indian plant protein landscape will also be unveiled during these sessions, further building upon the knowledge base for Dutch, and Indian stakeholders to collaborate with each other.

The Protein Shift program aims to assure futureproof protein consumption and production, around the world for all. Through this partnership, we intend to continue supporting the development of India’s smart protein sector by facilitating international collaboration with Dutch stakeholders. To learn more about the session and how you can participate, visit FoodValley Summits.

To learn more about our work on international collaborations through the Smart Protein Corridors, please feel free to reach out to us directly! We look forward to collaborating with you, and accelerating the smart protein sector in India.