Indian Railways has responded positively to a request of the plant-based food industries for a cold storage facility at Bengaluru railway station, according to the Plant Based Foods Industry Association (PBFIA),

A statement by PBFIA said the delegation from the association, which included its Executive Director Sanjay Sethi, approached Shyam Singh, Divisional Railway Manager of South Western Railway, and Kusuma Hariprasad, Additional Divisional Manager, to help make Bengaluru the epicentre for plant-based foods. At the end of the meeting, Shyam Singh expressed his satisfaction that a transit cold storage facility for plant-based foods was a just demand.

It said Shyam Singh expressed definite interest and asked PBFIA to share a comprehensive concept for the cold storage facility. A training programme for the railway food handlers was also proposed by PBFIA on the occasion.

Sunrise sector

Quoting Sethi, the statement said the plant-based food is at a stage before sunrise and is witnessing significant growth represented by many young entrepreneurs. The training of food handlers is a necessity to help them understand the criticality of the cold chain and prepare them to address various risks.

For this industry to thrive, a level-playing field and economies of scale are required. With the advent of significant Indian corporations such as Tata Consumer Products—which launched a new brand under the name Tata Simply Better, and offers plant-based chicken patties, spicy fingers, nuggets, and kebabs—the sector is now expanding in that direction, he said.

Currently, fresh fruits, vegetables, and some meat products are stored in the cold chain facilities. Having a designated area for plant-based foods can help businesses not only ship their products but also maintain the proper temperature for their packaged frozen products. “It will be a critical step that will reduce the costs associated with logistics and bring about price parity at Bengaluru, being a centre for innovation,” Sethi said.