Many say millets could become the new yoga for Indian exports. Last year, the United Nations declared 2023 as the ‘International Year of Millets’ after an initiative led by the Indian government, supported by as many as 72 countries. It’s also one of three themes for the Republic Day Parade tableaux this year. Ahead of Jan 26, several government departments are serving millets-based dishes during multiple large-scale events. Last year, India’s Ministry of Agriculture said it funded 66 startups to boost consumption of millets.
The grain was among the “first crops to be domesticated in India with several evidence of its consumption during the Indus valley civilization”, the agriculture ministry said in a statement. Millets are a varied group of small-seeded nutritional grains such as Jowar, Bajra, Ragi, Kangni, Kuttu, and Jhangora, among others. For their therapeutic properties, millets are also used in Ayurvedic medicines.
India is one of the largest producers and exporters of millets, which can also be grown in non-irrigated conditions and require minimal use of chemical fertilisers. By bringing attention to the highly resilient and self-sufficient properties of this crop, India aims to position millets as the ‘crop of the future’ and become a ‘global hub’ for its production. Several homegrown SMB brands and startups are bringing the heritage crop or ‘miracle grains’ in the form of easy-to-cook products for the modern consumer. Read on.
From millet-noodles to super grain dosas, Slurrp Farm has a wide range of instant foods and mixes. Established in 2016 by two mothers, the brand is focused on creating nutritious alternatives to everyone’s favourite treats. They aim to transform children's dietary habits across the world and disassociate healthy food from bland and uninteresting.
On a personal journey to change her family’s nutritional habits, Ruchika Bhuwalka established her own millet-based food brand in 2017. With a belief in medicinal qualities of food, the brand provides traditional Indian alternatives to international breads such as pizza base and lavash, among others.
Shop now: Little Millet Instant Noodles - Rs 240
In an effort to combine health and taste together, Eat Millet came into business in 2018 with a wide range of millet-based meals. The brand produces supplement-free products, keeping in mind safety norms. The brand aims to bring health and soulful food to the table.
Phalada Pure and Sure
Introducing a range of certified organic food products, Phalada Pure and Sure offers a wide range of millet-based instant foods. On offer are an array of regional delicacies with a healthy twist. The brand brings with itself a seasoned flavour and the benefit of organic agriculture. The ingredients are sourced directly from farmers.
Shop now: Organic Millet Bisibelle Bhath - Rs 100
Taking everyone’s favourite breakfast treats for a millet-based spin, this small business entered the market in 2016. From their delicious cereal flakes to vermicelli, the SMB aims to provide a hassle-free and nutritious twist to consumers' tables.
In addition to the above, many more sellers across the country are innovating with traditional millets to fit the contemporary consumer’s diet. Be a part of the global millets movement and contribute to mitigating climate change as millets are remarkable for their low intake of agricultural resources and high output of essential dietary nutrients.