Plantegg – The tasty protein supplement that’s not an egg

Plantegg Shell 10+1

Plantegg is a vegan food product created by Harini Rangarajan, a food technologist, after extensive research. This protein supplement in the familiar form of an egg is garnering attention and awards for innovation

Received the Emerging Startup award from Hon. Finance Minister, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman.
Received the Emerging Startup award from Hon. Finance Minister, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman.

Protein in a familiar form

Plantegg is a vegan product that looks like an egg, tastes like an egg and is packed with protein and micronutrients. Yet it’s not an egg substitute asserts food technologist Harini Rangarajan, the brain behind it. “It wasn’t formulated to replace an egg nor is it a response to the call for veganism. It’s just much-needed protein in a familiar packaging,” she elaborates.

Nutrition Chart

India’s nutrition deficiencies

Like many entrepreneurs, Harini was trying to solve a pressing problem. An MTech in Food Technology from IIFT, Madurai, she won the BIRAC fellowship. Her research took her to Bhubaneshwar, Pune, Mumbai and many small towns and villages where she unearthed some glaring discrepancies.

She met farmers who cultivated much of India’s bounty of fruit and vegetables but subsisted on cooked rice and salt as their staple diet. Their children suffered from multiple deficiencies but had ready access to unhealthy options like Lay’s and Kurkure. In the metros, she met executives and homemakers who often went on diets that deprived them of basic nutrition. These problems got Harini thinking.

Plantegg 10 In 1 Box Without Onion
Plantegg 10 In 1 Box Without Onion

Fellowship to entrepreneurship

“My fellowship was for a period of 18 months, of which the first six months of research culminated in arriving at 100 problem statements. In the following twelve months we had to come up with viable solutions. Hailing from a family of entrepreneurs this was right up my alley. My father solves problems in logistics and transport, but I chose food and technology”, she laughs.

“During my fellowship stint I was also exposed to the start-up eco system, the possibilities, the funding, and the path to revenue generating solutions for food-tech problems. It was a great journey enriched by wonderful mentors and guides such as Sriram Raghavan”, she reminisces. At the end of it, Harini decided that she wanted to introduce nutrition-rich products in an easy-to-consume form.

At the Biotech Startup Expo 2022
At the Biotech Startup Expo 2022

The vision

She began her entrepreneurial journey by establishing her start up, Nutrigenetics and then went on to create her first product – Plantegg. “My research in 2021 showed me that a huge percentage of Indians are deficient in at least one important nutrient. I decided to focus on one of them – protein. My goal was to be a start-up in food and nutrition, to supply good sources of protein to Indians at different levels, and of course to be a successful entrepreneur,” she states.

Nutrigenetics (Plantegg) at BIRAC Foundation day BIOTECH 2022 inaugurated by our Hon'ble Prime Minister on June 9th 2022 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.
Nutrigenetics (Plantegg) at BIRAC Foundation day BIOTECH 2022 inaugurated by our Hon’ble Prime Minister on June 9th 2022 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.

Why not simply offer egg products?

“We wanted to reach the protein deficient section of the population. The idea was to offer protein products but, in a fun, unexpected, yet familiar form. I wanted to make it accessible to vegans too. That led me to Plantegg,” explains Harini. These preservative-free products were developed to deliver protein and micronutrients but with the advantage of a 3-6 months shelf life.

The Plantegg™ range

Plantegg comes in three forms: Hard-boiled egg (yes you read right dear reader, look at the image to confirm); Powder form and Liquid form. The manufacturing facilities of Nutrigenetics are located in Madurai – at the Agro Food Trade Centre for the powdered egg version and at a different unit for the liquid and hard-boiled egg versions.

Collaborated with US Consulate, Kolkata and KIIT-TBI, Bhubaneshwar through the Regional Startup network. Represented India among the 5 Indian startups and also among the 20 SAARC startups
Collaborated with US Consulate, Kolkata and KIIT-TBI, Bhubaneshwar through the Regional Startup network. Represented India among the 5 Indian startups and also among the 20 SAARC startups

Support from mentor

“I came up with the idea and was exploring different processes to stabilise the products to give them a longer shelf life, when I met Mr. Saravana Kumaran of MiracleTree. He introduced me to his invention, the Heat Pump Dryer, which helps retain 60% 70% nutrition. This meant that the protein content could match that of an egg!” she shares.

“For the liquid egg variety, we use UHT low temperature short time, where the loss of nutrition is very low, and we use very little preservatives. In all this, Kumaran Sir is my technical mentor and my guide, in fact my pillar of strength,” she acknowledges.

The brand’s roadmap

Harini’s eyes light up as she goes over her brands road map. Plantegg’s hard-boiled egg version will have a three-month shelf life. There’s dire need for long shelf-life products that retain nutrition and taste especially on cruises and railways. Weve made inroads there. Our liquid form is mainly for the defense segment. This is an easy version of protein and can serve thirty to forty people with one pack. It has a six-month shelf life,” explains Harini.

“The powdered egg can stay for 24 months without preservatives or additives. All you need to do is to mix in hot water and its ready to pour!” says Harini enthusiastically, as she outlines her plans for the powdered version. Currently, we have a tie up with Hunger Box, which delivers food through an app to IT professionals. We will be available in about 9000 outlets in India soon.”

Plantegg – Your protein zeal

No compromise on taste

Harini proudly states, Taste testers out in the market have responded with glowing feedback. Theres barely any difference in taste and Plantegg does not contain allergens that are present in real eggs. And yes of course, its been approved and certified by FSSAI (Food Safety Standard of India).”

Acceptance of new food products

Asked about speed bumps in the marketplace, she nods sagely. Yes, there are a few. In India we take a little time to accept plant-based versions of meats. But this trend is catching up slowly but steadily and theres a lot of scope for innovations these days. We plan to focus on the export market to start with, and then in India for the hard boiled and liquid versions. Our products are offered in so many different forms, itll be hard to say no to good, healthy, vegan food!”

Plantegg Shell 10+1
Plantegg Shell 10+1

And why should we say no. Plantegg is available in three forms and each of them is easy to cook and consume. The product is also good for people with egg allergies, those looking for protein supplements, and for those with adventurous palates.

Look up the many delicious recipes possible with Plantegg on their website: www.plantegg.in

Spotlight on some accolades received by Nutrigenetics:

  • Received the Emerging Startup award from Hon. Finance Minister, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman.
  • FICCI AGRI STARTUP award for best woman Agritech startup from Hon. Shri Kailash Choudhary, Hon’ble Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare
  • Selected by BIRAC, as one among the 75 products in India, at Biotech ‘22.
  • Nutrigenetics placed in the top 5 startups in the “Regional startup network” organised by US Consulate General Kolkata and American Center

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