TerViva partners with growers to raise resilient, high-yielding pongamia trees on degraded land using minimal inputs. We were excited to speak to Naveen Sikka, Founder and CEO at TerViva, ahead of their participation at Future Food-Tech

What are the key differentiators that set apart pongamia-based oil and protein from other oilseed ingredients?

Our ingredients are produced sustainably and can scale to commercially viable volumes at a competitive price point to current plant-based products such as pea protein and sunflower oil. What excites us the most is that food ingredients made from pongamia beans will be carbon-negative, meaning that the trees sequester more carbon from the atmosphere than the beans will produce in emissions from field to plate. We’re getting ready to bring the first foods from this regenerative tree crop to market.

What about the functionality of these ingredients will product formulators find of interest?

Our culinary pongamia oil is a beautiful golden colour and an excellent source of healthy Omega-9. Pongamia oil is a sustainable alternative to palm and coconut oil in food applications. It’s unique fatty acid profile makes it a versatile fat source capable of replacing lighter oils such as canola and sunflower while offering a buttery, rich mouthfeel. This unique taste profile can help close the gap between plant-based dairy products and their animal-based counterparts.

Pongamia protein has a more neutral taste profile than soy, pea, and rice proteins. Our protein flour is highly-nutritious and can be made into concentrates and isolates for a diverse range of food applications. We sustainably- and responsibly-source pongamia beans for a variety of in-demand products such as high-protein beverages, baked goods, plant-based meats, dairy alternatives, pastas and dips and spreads.

Pongamia’s higher-yields also deliver greater accessibility, offering favourable economics for product formulators.

Why will consumers want a new source of plant protein and oil?

Trust and traceability in our food supply chains is paramount in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Responsible governance calls for the delivery of healthy, sustainable foods at a fair price. Pongamia’s environmental durability and abundant yields of nutritious beans make it uniquely suited to meet these needs. On top of this, we are bringing to market socially responsible and environmentally friendly alternative sources of plant protein and oil that improves the taste and mouthfeel of popular products such as plant-based meats, beverages, and baked goods.

How does TerViva’s innovations contribute to a more resilient food system?

We need a bigger basket of crops to meet our global food needs. Currently we’re too reliant on three to five staple crops to feed the world’s fast-rising population. Pongamia is a regenerative tree crop that delivers the most sustainable source of plant protein and vegetable oil on earth. We source pongamia beans from areas where there are either few alternative crops or where the trees are already indigineous and we can create new revenue streams for smallholder farmers. We trace 100% of pongamia beans procured to origin, promote fair labour practices and pay our workers a fair living wage. Our traceable supply chains create value for farmers and the agricultural communities we work with as well as food companies and consumers who appreciate responsible sourcing.

Who you are looking to connect with at Future Food-Tech?

We’re seeking sustainability-driven partners to help us bring the first-ever tasty, nutritious and carbon-negative plant protein and oil ingredients to market.

Naveen Sikka, Founder and CEO at TerViva will be joining the panel discussion Reaching for the Stars: Components of a Perfect Food System at Future Food-Tech.