USSEC recently conducted an event, “Protein for All,” primarily targeting India’s animal feed and soybean meal industries along with protein end users, both meat and non-meat consumption sectors. The event was conducted in Patna (North India) and was attended by 125 participants and representatives of the media who spread the protein message to a wider audience.
India’s large population coupled with low protein consumption qualifies the country for some effective pull marketing strategies. Two major constraints still exist in the Indian community – knowledge of daily protein requirements is low, as is the ability to calculate dietary protein requirements based on different types of food products available. Knowledge about the economics of protein sources and different types of protein products and their characteristics is also lacking. The staple diet of most Indians is cereal- and pulse-based, which delivers about 20 grams (g) of protein per day.
USSEC animal utilization consultant Dr. Pawan Kumar conceptualized the idea of “Protein for All” in order to educate a diverse audience on creating customer opportunities to increase the consumption of animal products (poultry meat, eggs, fish, and shrimp) in addition to cereals and pulses. The event also recommended the use of texturized soy products as direct protein supplement for non-meat eaters.
Four focused presentations were made during the session.
Dr. Suresh Itapu, director of Food and Agri Consulting Services in Hyderabad, discussed protein requirements for different age groups and activity groups. Dr. Itapu explained protein’s structure and how it is synthesized in the human body. He stated that an adult with low activity should take 0.8 g protein per kilogram (kg) of body weight, an adult with medium activity should consume 1g/kg of body weight, and a high activity or stressed person should consume 1.2 g protein/kg of body weight. For growing children, the requirement is 1.5 g/kg of body weight for low activity and 1.8 g/kg body weight for children with high physical activity. Athletes’ requirements vary between 2 - 2.5 g/kg of body weight.
USSEC animal utilization consultant Dr. Yadu Nandan presented a mathematical approach on how protein intake can be monitored, demonstrating that protein intake can be guided at every meal by measuring cooking and serving on a plate.
USSEC Country Representative – Sri Lanka Dr. Athula Mahagamagae spoke about different sources of protein, its significance, and its health benefits. His focus was on poultry and egg products and their nutritional details.
In Dr. Kumar’s presentation, he discussed the basic differences in food habits of south Asians and the rest of world. Proportions based on half meat and half cereal is the norm worldwide, but in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan, cereals and a small quantity of pulses form staple diets. Pulse production is not meeting demand, resulting in reduction in per capita availability of pulses in the region. This trend reduces protein supply from pulses in the region. Dr. Kumar recommended that alternate protein solutions could be obtained from increasing the consumption of milk, chicken, egg, fish, and various other soy protein-based food products. Chicken and eggs are the cheapest source of animal-based protein for meat eaters in India; it costs $ 1.51 for 100 g of chicken protein and $ 1.28 for 100 g of egg protein, while the cheapest form of protein is derived from texturized soy products at $ 0.24 for 100 g protein.