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“I started eating non-vegetarian only at the age of 14,” says Dhoni

Former Indian cricket captain picks up equity in plant protein startup Shaka Harry

dhoni launch plant protein company Mahendra Singh Dhoni | Bhanu Prakash Chandra

“I started eating non-vegetarian only at the age of 14 and was not into too much into fish, but, I mainly ate chicken. Through the brand Shakha Harry, we are not targeting vegetarians but we are targeting the people like me who eat non-vegetarian food and want to give their system a rest. Vegetarian food is considered to be slightly better for the body. At the same time, it is very difficult to convert vegetarian people to non-vegetarian,” said cricketer M.S.Dhoni who is really fond of butter chicken. He was speaking on the sidelines of an event in Bengaluru after picking up equity in the plant protein startup Shaka Harry. 

Dhoni said that the aim of this plant protein startup was to provide non-vegetarian people with good vegetarian options. He said one should be careful about the protein intake for their body. “There is also a general assumption that if one eats non-vegetarian food one gets better protein intake. I do not think that one has to be a non-vegetarian to be fitter though one should eat whatever one is comfortable with,” he remarked.

Of late, Dhoni has been backing many startups across the consumer segment. Bengaluru-based plant protein start-up Shaka Harry had recently received US $ 2 million, a seed funding round led by Better Bite Ventures, Blue Horizon and Panthera Peak Ventures. Other investors include Dexler Holdings, celebrity Chef Manu Chandra and a group of domestic family offices and angel investors.

“The plant protein segment is an exciting consumer space. For a growing population, current protein sources aren’t sustainably as scalable. We now have a choice to shift to smarter protein alternatives without compromising on taste and texture,” added Dhoni. 

Anand Nagarajan, co-founder and CEO of Liberate Foods said that the company was serving over 30,000 customers across 10 cities monthly, and expected to triple this number in the next few months. He said that the Shaka Harry products will also be available on global shelves by the end of this year. 

GFI research with Deloitte indicates that the right investments in talent, R&D, manufacturing, and distribution could drive the Indian smart protein sector to a market size of nearly Rs 19,000 Crore by 2030, including a sizeable export market. 

The Shaka Harry brand was launched less than a year back its co-founders include Anand Nagarajan, Sandeep Devgan, Hemalatha Srinivasan, Ruth Renita and Anoop Haridasan. The brand offers a range of meal and snack products which are designed around Indian cuisine and palate. The range includes snackables and meal accompaniments. The brand also has a partnership with popular Indian Chef Manu Chandra. 

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