First ever cargo of Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) arrives from Argentina to India

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Updated: June 29, 2021 5:13 PM

The shift towards the alternative proteins is considered to sustainably feed a growing global population, environmental impact of food production, and in also dealing with Climate Change.

The first shipment of one ton of TVP has reached India from Argentina. Image: Namastrade

Innovators around the world are making efforts in creating eggs, meat, including dairy products from cells, plants or microorganisms.

The shift towards the alternative proteins is considered to sustainably feed a growing global population, environmental impact of food production, and in also dealing with Climate Change.

Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) is a relatively new product and is also gaining popularity in India. This product is being exported from Europe and China. And for the first time a shipment has arrived from Argentina. Namastrade, an SME from Argentina has sent the first shipment of TVP to India. This SME is mainly dedicated to the production, processing, and export of pulses and is also into other agricultural and livestock productions.

There are only three Argentine companies who have their own office in India including: Globant – which is a multinational company from the IT sector; Techint – is from the construction sector; and Namastrade, which is an SME from the province of Santa Fe, Argentina.

Namastrade India Pvt. Ltd. was founded in Mumbai, as a JV between Namastrade Argentina (an Argentine LLC that no longer exists) and a company from the province of Santa Fe called BYO Alimentos. Namastrade belongs to the “BYO Alimentos Group”.

Image: Namastrade

“Trade between the two countries is very little in relation to the potential that exists. The economies of both countries are complementary: Argentina produces and exports commodities and foodstuff and India imports commodities and foodstuff, amongst other things. Historically the total of what Argentina exports to India is highly concentrated in a single product: Crude Soybean Oil; which is exported in bulk by multinationals like AGD, Cargill, Nidera, etc,” Raul Pastorini, Director, Namastrade, tells Financial Express Online. “We have excellent work teams in both countries, such as lawyers, accountants, and customs brokers.”

Raul Pastorini talks about the first shipment of TVP to India and the challenges faced with Huma Siddiqui.

Following are excerpts

Why is this export from Argentina so important?

Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) is a relatively new product. Argentina is a main player in the agricultural sector. And, Argentina is amongst the top 5 producers and exporters of almost all major agro commodities.

Image: Namastrade

And, the first shipment of one ton of TVP has reached India from Argentina. This is just the tip of the iceberg. We have successfully opened the Indian market commercially for this product. The importer, who already bought this first shipment from us, did not know us and also had never imported from Argentina before. We have also closed the purchase of another 20 Tons to load in July 2021.

So far Argentina is exporting products including wines, lemons, apples etc. This is due to several reasons including the lack of knowledge, geographical distance, and the lack of interests of Argentine businessmen, the protectionism of India and many other reasons.

How did you achieve this?

I have moved from my home country Argentina and for the last 2 years along with my wife and two children have been based here in India, visiting potential clients. We have distributed countless samples of our textured vegetable protein. In India there are more than a hundred new companies producing vegan foods, which use TVP as the main ingredient.

Vegetarian protein is not consumed in Argentina and is being exported to neighbouring countries. It is worth mentioning that there are other alternatives within vegetable proteins. The best known is Soy protein, which is also produced in India.

What is TVP and what is so special about it?

India has a large (if not the largest) vegan and vegetarian consumer population worldwide.

Textured Vegetable Protein can be used as an input, both in meat-based products, in which case they are called “expanders” due to their great liquid absorption capacity; as well as in 100% vegan food products.

The shipment from Argentina is already at the warehouse of the importer who will use it as an input in their vegan food preparations, and it will be sold in retail, under their own brand.

Did you face any problems in exporting to India?

Our Textured Vegetable Protein is exported in 25 kg paper bags, in containers. It is loaded at the port of Rosario, Argentina and arrived at the port of Nhava Sheva, Mumbai.

Upon reaching its destination, this very first export generated a lot of attention, since they had never received this product from Argentina before. This product (HS code 210610) pays 40 per cent of Import Duty in India. Last week, FSSAI inspected the cargo and released it without major inconvenience.

The Foreign Ministry of Argentina, General Consulate of Argentina in Mumbai, Embassy of Argentina in New Delhi, have played an instrumental role in our first export to India. They gave all their support and guided us professionally.

How is it going to fit in the Indian Market?

As per several studies, researches and “papers” by NGO like The Good Food Institute, it fits very well. India is already consuming TVP, mainly from other sources, like soya. We as a company are going to sell as bulk and not retail to the Indian brands that will use our TVP as an input, and then sell it to the Indian consumers in different ways (retail, online, etc.).

Who is your competition here in India?

There are other foreign companies here (from Europe and China) selling the same product. I will not mention their names. Furthermore, there are just a few Indian start-ups developing TVP made of yellow peas also; but they are way behind us. Achieving our quality took us several years of R&D.

More about BYO Alimentos

Until 2019, BYO Alimentos was the main exporter of yellow peas (grains, unprocessed commodity) from Argentina to India. From 2020, legume imports into India are restricted by National Government´s measures. BYO Alimentos has its own farms, also leased farms, and also works under contract-farming. It also has its own silo plants and its own processing plant + laboratory.

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