Mumbai vegan start-up gets royal seal of approval

Wegan Foods — a new Mumbai vegan food start-up— has received an undisclosed figure donated by a member of the UAE royal family.

Sheikha Arwa Al Qassimi, a member of the royal family of Sharjah and Rad Al Khaimah, has thrown an undisclosed amount of money behind the new Mumbai vegan business venture which is looking to launch its product range of healthy, dairy-free, pantry staples in India.

“Advocate for women’s rights”

Qassimi, who has previously worked with Indian foundations such as Food for Change and India Cares, spoke about the decision to back the vegan startup stating: “I was impressed with the fact that Kinjal plans to have a 90 percent women workforce by hiring from organisations that groom and empower women from disadvantaged backgrounds. This is the biggest motivation for me. Globally, I have been an advocate for women’s rights and see this investment as a step in that direction.”

The company plan to use the investment to help fund scaling the commercial kitchen, inventory and brand building.

Kinjal Darukhanawala, founder and CEO of Wegan Foods, explained: “We are creating a range of products that are delicious and dairy free. We aim to be an ethical and transparent brand, which will source the highest quality ingredients. Each product will be crafted in what we call ‘happy kitchens’ and not in labs or factories.”

Growing Mumbai vegan community

It was his own healthy background and passion for veganism that highlighted the need for more vegan products to serve a growing Mumbai vegan community. Kinjal plans to create a strong network of businesses to stock his products in addition to utilising specific food delivery apps.

“The idea is not just about being vegan but also carrying a line of products that are delicious and nutritious for all age groups to devour. A lot of people have preconceived notions about vegan food. Our brand plans to banish these notions.”

The first product due to be released — in October 2017 — is the brand’s soy-free, gluten-free, vegan cheese.

Insights into the plant-based food sector, last year, showed huge growth globally for packaged vegan foods.

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