India Focus: Plant-based white chocolate, vegetable oil shortages, Shark Tank India finallist's Nestle-level ambitions and more feature in our round-up

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Plant-based white chocolate, vegetable oil shortages, Shark Tank India finallist's Nestle-level ambitions and more feature in this edition of India Focus. ©Getty Images
Plant-based white chocolate, vegetable oil shortages, Shark Tank India finallist's Nestle-level ambitions and more feature in this edition of India Focus. ©Getty Images

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Plant-based white chocolate, vegetable oil shortages, Shark Tank India finallist's Nestle-level ambitions and more feature in this edition of India Focus.

Milk-free chocolate: India’s CARRA launches rare plant-based white bar to ‘plug the gaps’

Indian plant-based chocolate firm CARRA has launched its first dairy-free white chocolate bar, aiming to ‘plug the gaps’ in its portfolio to appeal to a wider consumer base.

Although plant-based chocolates have been around in India for some time, the vast majority of these are dark or milk chocolates due to these being easier to match in terms of appearance and taste when the dairy component is removed.

“There are very few white chocolate bars that do not contain milk and dairy in the Indian market as it is not easy to attain the required colour or milky mouthfeel to match just by using plant-based ingredients,”​ CARRA CEO Komal Khosla told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

Ukraine-Russia conflict: Indian, Chinese food firms should seek alternative veg oil supplies – Analyst

Indian and Chinese food firms should seek alternative or additional sources of vegetable oil, with both countries facing severe shortages and price hikes due to the Ukraine-Russia conflict, according to an industry analyst.

The spike could impact manufacturers and companies that produce vegetable oil for consumers and those that use it as a major ingredient in the production process.

Speaking to FoodNavigator-Asia​, Senior Analyst of Consumer Research at Fitch Solutions Brice Dunlop said: “We’re going to see a drop in Ukrainian supply. Therefore, there are three methods to overcome the price hikes: first, find alternative sources of oil immediately like ghee or palm oil; second, re-formulate products (depending on the usage of vegetable oil); or third, utilise ‘shrinkflation’ (sell in smaller quantities at the same price point to counter the effects of the supply shock)​.

From Shark Tank to MNC: India’s first ice popsicle brand eyes Nestle-level market penetration in next 12 months

India’s first ice popsicle brand Skippi is aiming to achieve Nestle-level market penetration in the country within the next 12 months, with plans afoot for a large-scale production plant as well as building up its national distribution network.

In this episode of the FNA Food and Beverage Trailblazers podcast, we speak Ravi Kabra, Founder of India’s Skippi which is best-known for being the first branded ice popsicle firm in India, as well as for successfully revamping the traditional ice pops category with healthier ingredients.

India's new nutra regulations expand scope for NPD and imports – FSSAI’s ex-director

A set of new nutraceutical regulations operationalised by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) this month will make it easier for companies to innovate and import a broader range of supplements, although there are still some ‘bottlenecks’ to overcome, according to a former director at the statutory board.

The new set of regulations is known as FSS (Health Supplements, Nutraceuticals, Food for Special Dietary Use, Food for Special Medical Purpose and Prebiotic and Probiotic Food) Regulations, 2022. 

The framework is in fact, still in the process of draft publication and is open for comments from the industry stakeholders. Despite so, the FSSAI has operationalised the new regulations from April 1, without any transition period given. 

Beyond pea and soy: Asia’s foodtech space awash with novel plant-based proteins – experts

Asia’s foodtech start-ups are increasingly innovating beyond soy and pea in the plant-based space, with several firms catching the eye of regional experts.

The first generation of plant-based alternative proteins (before 2020) usually utilises protein blends of pea and soy.

However, the next-gen start-ups of today are open to using novel ingredients and formulations, says industry experts Isabelle Decitre and Vandana Dhaul of ID Capital.

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