An entrepreneur is a person who starts, organizes, and operates a business. BUT WHAT IS A PLANTREPRENEUR? A PLANTREPRENEUR is a person who builds a plant-based business for the overall good of society. We are proud to have India's very own Plantrepreneur over with us at FOK! Animesh Gupta dropped college in his final year to chase his calling. He is currently in the launch stage of his plant-based beverage brand and plans to revolutionize the Vegan Food & Beverages market in India. Sounds exciting, doesn't it? To top it up, he is also the Vice-President of https://www.toastmasters.org/ of Jaipur Chapter.
Let's get to know him better!
When & Why did you decide to become a Vegan?
It all started almost a year back in college when I came across a random video forward on WhatsApp by the only vegan guy in the entire college. He used to put up the stories on the dark side of white milk & its consequences and I used to keep arguing with him without any research. I am born and raised as a vegetarian so it was hard for me to believe. After a week, I decided to do in-depth research and came with shocking things that no one had ever told me. I felt like I was conditioned & brainwashed by these dairy giants. After this eye-opening week of researches & documentaries, I slowly started ditching dairy. It was a slow and gradual process for me, not an immediate transition. It's been 11 months since I am vegan and feel very good about the conscious choice.
How do you think the Vegan Revolution is growing across India?
I come across one or two article(s) almost every day on the rise of veganism & people switching to a plant-based diet at least. In India, the southern part of India is where around 66% of people are lactose intolerant while only 27% in the northern part, according to a recent survey. But more than that, people are getting conscious about their choices when it comes to their food. They started reconnecting themselves with their food and the source where it is coming from. Mostly, people turn vegan because of Animal Cruelty. Many organizations running locally & globally are playing an important role in it. We see SAVE MOVEMENT in major cities, FIAPO, etc. into animal activism and empowering youth to raise voice against animal cruelty happening in India. Talking about the business side, being a part of this plant-based food & beverage space, I see a lot of innovation happening in plant-based chicken, fish, egg & dairy, and even lab-grown meat using just a couple of meat cells ("cultured meat"). But these all are at their initial stages. However, the health aspect is the ultimate driving force in the food & beverage space followed by environmental impact.
What has your contribution to the Vegan community been?
I had been into this space from the last 1.5 years, first with plant-based meat startup & now with plant-based milk. I recently attended Ahimsa Fest 2020 in Mumbai this January and got inspired by people doing amazing things to contribute. Now because of my involvement in certain things, I never experienced the activism thing but then decided to build an online community of vegans called HEALers which is an acronym for "Healthy Environment & Animal Lovers". It's been around 2.5 months and I have made dozens of friends there from different parts of India and learned a lot of things while sharing valuable insights & empowering/supporting them on our page.
What drives you every day to educate people about Veganism?
In the past 2 months, in my circle alone, I was able to convert 7 people vegetarian & 3 people vegan. I never tried to preach them unnecessarily. I just showed them the facts, the newspaper headlines, etc. and they gave it a thought & tried to bring a change in their lifestyle. What makes me do this is the fact that no one is a bad person. It's just they are ignorant like we were before we turned to a compassionate lifestyle. So, the language of love, respect & compassion always wins. That's why we say "BE KIND TO EVERY KIND". Otherwise, you would start losing a lot of your existing friends or even start making enemies which is an ineffective way to spread a positive change in society.
What advice would you give to new vegans or people looking to transition to veganism?
Just do your research! It's as simple as that. Worrying about your diet & bunch of other things won't do anything. There are plenty of resources & case studies on the Internet. Watch documentaries for conviction & staying true to yourself, associate with other vegans, reach out to pages like Fork Over Knife or HEALers Community on Instagram, we would love to help you do this transition very smoothly. It's simple science, not rocket science!
WOAH! When we were writing the blog, we felt so energetic and so delighted! And we believe you'd love what Animesh has to share with us. He is a massive flux of energy and positive vibes and is a flag bearer of Veganism in India. We hope he continues to educate and influence many lives every day.
Do not forget to connect with him at his Social Media! He is doing some pretty awesome things!
Often we are misled by our cultures about what is right and what is wrong, In India, a majority of the population is conditioned from the birth about the health benefits derived from dairy. Although only 20-30% of the total population in India is vegetarian, even meat-eaters would agree on the so-called 'health benefits of dairy'. However with new researches coming up every day about the harms that these industries cause, the world is seeing a gradual shift to Plant-Based. The sales of almond milk through the USA and Europe have steadily been killing the dairy industry. Even brands like Raw Pressery & Hershey's have introduced plant-based milk alternatives.
That being said, we need more evangelists, more people who will drive this revolution. More power to Vegans!