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Symega Food Ingredients, a manufacturer of seasonings, culinary products, flavours, and natural colours, announced their foray into the plant-based protein space and the launch of a purpose-built manufacturing unit in Kochi. With a state-of-the-art R&D laboratory and a 150MT per month capacity line, fitted with the latest machinery specifically for plant-based food manufacturing, Symega is poised to cater to the growing demands of plant-based foods in India and abroad.
“Plant-based proteins are not limited to only vegan food items but are fast growing as a logical alternative for healthy food habits and a sustainable lifestyle. Symega is committed to becoming the platform for this change and making India the hub of the plant-based protein revolution in Asia. To that extent, we are committing INR 100 crores over the next five years to ramp up R&D and manufacturing capabilities,” said Santhosh Stephen, Managing Director of Symega.
A completely B2B operation, Symega’s plant-based range primarily targets packaged food brand owners (start-ups/incumbents) and foodservice chains. Unlike the alternatives that are currently available in the market, Symega aims to cater to the growing consumer demand for plant-based meat and milk alternatives with convenient, nutritious formulations that are clean label and allergen-free.
Symega Protein Innovation Center (SPIC), launched late last year, features a team of product development and application experts that works on various concepts to suit the Indian, Asian and Western palates. The team is already working with leading brands in developing and enhancing their plant-based offerings to meet evolving market needs as well as consumer preferences.
Established brands and popular new-age food startups like Wakao – the most celebrated plant-based food start-up in India – already work with Symega for developing and manufacturing new products. Sairaj Dhond, Founder and CEO of Wakao Foods, said, “Symega has been assisting us in creating new products and manufacturing them. Their 15 plus years of experience in the taste domain and sensory expertise goes towards understanding the consumer’s palate and helps develop products that are loved by customers of Wakao.”
Whether it is a plant-based meat offering or a vegan alternative to milk or cheese, Symega uses a combination of intense research and extensive sensory and nutritional evaluation to deliver the perfect flavour, texture, mouthfeel and nutrition in their products. Peas, wheat, rice, lentils and jackfruit are some of the proteins that form the base of plant-based foods.
“Our real strength is being the one-stop solution for all the product development and manufacturing needs of our customers”, said Rethesh Kumar, Business Head for Symega’s plant-based protein division. “Having an R&D laboratory and the manufacturing unit in the same facility, coupled with our strong backward integration to the doorstep of a farmer, we have vertically integrated the entire supply chain and have the solution for every pain point between an idea and product launch.”
Manufacturing operations of Symega are based out of its state-of-the-art facilities at the Synthite Taste Park near Kochi. R&D facilities are located in Kochi (Kerala), Bangalore (Karanataka), and Gurgaon (Delhi NCR).
Symega also announced its plan to invest in a greenfield facility to manufacture extruded proteins and double its existing capacity by the end of this year. By 2030, Symega aims to make India the manufacturing hub of plant-based proteins for Europe & Asia.
Symega Food Ingredients is a part of the Synthite Group, a producer of value-added spices.