Liberate Foods Pvt Ltd, which sells plant-based protein products under Shaka Harry brand has received $2 million in seed funding from Better Bite Ventures, Blue Horizon and venture debt fund Panthera Peak. Others who have invested in the start-up include Dexler Holdings, chef Manu Chandra and a group of domestic family offices and angel investors.
Shaka Harry has an assortment of plant-based ‘ready-to-eat’ meal and snacks for customers looking to substitute/ supplement their meat intake with plant-based food. The product are designed around the Indian cuisine and palate and have a distinct advantage with access to proprietary taste and flavour solutions, coupled with brand’s partnership with chef Manu Chandra.
Anand Nagarajan, co-founder, Shaka Harry said “When we think about sustainability, we usually think about energy and transportation. Food is an area that can move the sustainability needle much more. Winning a consumer segment in the food space needs a well-designed product range, deep expertise in taste and flavour and consistent customer experience. The team at Shaka Harry, with in-house flavour and taste solutions coupled with an experienced team is poised to build the market leading brand in plant-based products.”
Aims to strengthen R&D
Shaka Harry products range are available across Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, Ahmedabad and Gurgaon. The company has a monthly customer base of 25,000 and is eyeing an aggressive growth over the next five years. The company expects to utilise the funding to strengthen its R&D and manufacturing capabilities in the food park at Tumkur.
Sundeep Devgan, co-founder, Shaka Harry said, “Plant-based meats have a huge scope of acceptability in India, particularly among the growing flexitarian population. By partnering with top flavourists, who are masters in recreating impactful meaty top notes using vegetarian ingredients, we have been able to offer Indian consumers a first-of-its-kind ‘just-like-chicken’ & ‘just-like mutton experience’ minus the guilt.”
Simon Newstead, Founding Partner, Better Bite Ventures said, “As an Asian alt-protein fund, Better Bite Ventures invests in early-stage startups creating a more sustainable food system in the most populous region in the world. And as such, we’re particularly optimistic about India’s opportunity. The nation has a clear opportunity to become a regional leader in plant-based foods and leapfrog other countries in adopting climate-friendly smart proteins, driven by a growing movement of conscious consumers motivated by taste, health and the environment. Which leads us to our investment in Shaka Harry, brings a range of crave-worthy, locally resonant plant-based products to market.”
The growth of plant-based meat sector in India, coupled with the direct-to-consumer boom underscore a massive potential for the Shaka Harry range of products, said Nikhil Bhandarkar, Founding Partner and CEO, Panthera Peak Ventures.
Varun Deshpande, Managing Director, Good Food Institute India, said with leading companies like Shaka Harry bringing plant-based meat to consumers across India, the last year has been smart protein’s breakout moment in the country. But funding in Indian smart protein companies continues to lag far behind, remaining at a tiny fraction of the $11b invested globally over the last decade, he said.