Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi has created a plant-based ‘egg’ and will soon launch sausages, beef, mutton, chicken, turkey from plant produce. These vegetarian or mock meat products are similar in taste to the original and are created inside labs as an ‘environment-friendly’ healthy alternative.
An egg made of moong (split green gram) will be displayed during Industry Day on September 21 at IIT-Delhi where over 150 industry players are expected to visit. The research is being headed by Kavya Dashora, assistant professor at Centre for Rural Development and Technology, IIT-Delhi.
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"Most people who want to switch to vegetarian food stuck to meat because of its taste and protein value. We have taken care of both aspects, using normal farm produce. For the vegan egg, we have used protein isolation technology and extrusion technology for meat," explained Dashora.
This mock meat, claims the researcher, will cost similar to non-veg alternatives. "It will be a cleaner source of protein; the egg, for instance, has zero cholesterol and is gluten-free. There is no risk of animal-based diseases, such as bird flu, and the concept prevents cruelty on animals as well," she informed.
Dashora, along with several students from the institute, had been working on the project for a year now. The products are available for sale through their website plantmade.in, where one can currently pick up vegan paneer and plant-based anda bhurji (scrambled eggs).
Rahul Dewan, from Four Pursuits Ventures, who has funded this research remarked, "Meat production through animal slaughter is one of the biggest causes of greenhouse emission. This product would not only be a tastier, healthier alternative for non-vegetarian dishes but also save the environment."
He pointed out, "Since these are based on farm produce, the team will directly work with farmers and this will, in turn, support the government’s aim to increase their income."
The annual industry day at IIT-Delhi will also see several other innovations including a Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) funded project to reduce the weight of bullet-proof jackets used by the armed forces. Currently, the jackets weigh around 10.5 kg, while IIT-Delhi’s innovation would put them at around 7.5 kg. The nearly 200 other innovations include a water-activated powerless heating system, a tool to detect cancer tissues and a drone to lift weights.