May 6, 2020

Hyderabad firm developing millet-based convenient foods


Hyderabad: Immunity has taken a centre stage due to Covid-19 pandemic and people are looking to include nutritious food in their diet. Millets are seen as rich sources of protein, high dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and micronutrients. To tap the growing demand for millets, Hyderabad-based nutrition food company, Inner Being Wellness (IBW), which has been making millet-based ready-to-eat products and snacks for last six years, plans to get into convenient foods such as heat-and-eat products.

The company is exploring products such as instant jowar upma, jowar poha, jowar vermicelli, and ragi malt with different variants. The company uses ingredients such as jowar, bajra, foxtail, ragi, amaranthus, chickpea and green gram. The company and its partner institutions procure raw material from various farmer-producer organisations in Telangana, AP, Karnataka and Maharashtra.

One of the biggest challenges worldwide is the increasing lifestyle disorders such as high-stress, diabetes, obesity and low immunity, hypertension, cancer etc. Having understood the need, gap and opportunity in the market, IBW is offering products based on ancient grains- gluten-free millets, plant protein, with no added sugars and preservatives, C S Jadhav CEO Inner being wellness told Telangana Today.

“We have recently signed a MoU with Harvest Plus, which has developed iron fortified pearl millet and with their collaboration, we are now developing iron-enriched cookies especially targeting women and children,” he added.

The company’s current product portfolio comprises of basic products such as jowar idli and foxtail millet, while it also has modern lifestyle products such as quinoa porridge, millet pancake, ragi chocolate drink, millet pizza, millet cookie mix and nut & millet cake. In the ready-to-eat snacking range, it makes jowar pops, jowar bujiya, namkeen, jowar sticks and cookies.

Manufacturing

The company has research collaboration with Indian Institute of Millet Research, National Institute of Nutrition, National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) and Mount Carmel College, Bengaluru.

IBW utilises manufacturing and processing facilities of Indian Institute of Millet Research through its Nutri Hub processing plant, and NIFTEM at Sonipat, Haryana. Jadhav informed, “Under the Ministry of Food Processing, we also have been allotted a manufacturing plant at NIFTEM a six-tonne capacity ready-to-eat snacks manufacturing plant at Sonipat, Haryana.”

Market opportunity

In India, organic and health foods market is estimated at Rs 10,000 crores and Hyderabad has the potential of about Rs 2,000 crores. The company plans to consolidate its position in Hyderabad, Pune, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi. In the next phase, the company will target Covid-affected cities such as Chennai and Ahmedabad.

Apart from retail presence, the company has also tapped into ecommerce platforms such as Amazon, Flipkart, BigBasket and Quetro in addition to its own online platform. The brand is currently available in about 500 stores across Hyderabad, Mumbai, Bangalore and Pune. The company’s 60 per cent business comes from hotels while corporate hospitals are also an emerging segment.


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