Hyderabad: Hyderabad consumes meat worth Rs. 3,500 crore per year and is the biggest meat-consuming city in the country. The city has over 4,000 chicken, 2,000 mutton, and 2,000 fish shops. City-based phygital (physical stores and e-commerce) start-up Proteins Hygienic Non-Veg Mart is planning to cash in on Hyderabad's love for meat and open a school that will teach butchery skills.

This will probably make Hyderabad India's first city to have a butchery school.

Proteins Hygienic Non-Veg Mart, the Hyderabad-based first modern meat retail chain, is expanding its footprint from 11 stores to 75 by the end of March 2022 by investing about Rs. 22 crores. It is facing a huge shortage of trained and skilled butchers. To overcome this problem it is launching Proteins Butchers Academy to train people in butchery skills, Srinivasa Rao Potini and Vijay Chowdary Tripuraneni, the founders of the company, announced on Thursday.

"We are opening the Academy because we see a huge potential for the space. What was 2010 for general retail and e-commerce, these few years will be the same for the meat industry," Manchala Vamshi Rai, alumni of Bits Pilani and director of Proteins Hygienic Non-Veg Mart, said.

It plans to train 500 butchers in the next eight months. People who have passed class X will be eligible for training and will be paid a stipend of Rs. 8,000 per month. Upon completing the three-month training course, they will be given full-time employment.

The school will train people not only to chops and grind various kinds of meat but also to identify meat cuts, cut meat properly, avoid wastage, identify good quality meat, and store it properly. They will also be taught how to clean and maintain tools and ensure the meat served is safe for consumption.

Mr. Triperaneni said that while Hyderabad has several meat shops most of them are untidy and unhygienic. He said that 95% of the meat industry is unorganized, known for poor infrastructure, unhygienic, and are unreliable for quality and availability.

India's meat market is worth Rs. 4 lakh crore and there is a huge potential for the growth of modern meat retail chains. "Our vision is to provide the best professional shopping experience to meat buyers. We must make available the most hygienic, fresh and quality meat for the common man at affordable prices in the most professional manner possible," added Mr. Vamshi.

While many hotel management colleges have a course on butchery, there is no exclusive butcher training institute in Hyderabad or the country, said Dr. S.B Barbuddhe, the director of ICAR-National Research Centre on Meat. Emmanuel, the director of International Institute of Hotel Management, explained that while there are meat technology and meat certification technology courses there is no exclusive school for butchers.

Actress and model Divi of the Big Boss fame, who is also the brand ambassador to Proteins, said during the pandemic, eating hygienic meat is as important as wearing a mask and maintaining social distance. "It will also create new employment opportunities," she added.

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