UAE entrepreneur Shauravi Malik’s passion to get her children to gobble up all the exciting food ideas that are brimming in her own kitchen gave birth to Slurrp Farm. And in just over three years, what started as an experiment in her own home kitchens has now turned into a loved kids’ food brand; having served its first 500,000 customers. The brand is on a mission to help improve the health statistics and nutrition intake of UAE children by making high quality, junk-free food.
What are millets and are they the new trend?
If you haven’t yet heard of millets, you will notice them everywhere around you in the coming years because:
- They are versatile Gluten Free Supergrains loaded with natural micronutrients
- It is a Climate Smart and sustainable grain – requiring just 1/4th the water to grow as several other grains like Rice
- The UN as just declared 2023 the International Year of Millets
Millets are a type of plant that grows in hot countries and produces very small seeds”. The grains—consumed in many countries over centuries—are not dissimilar to rice and wheat. Many assume that millet is a single variety of grain, but there are over 500 varieties of millets within the main types. They have traditionally been part of everyday meals in many semi-arid regions of Asia and Africa for many centuries, and may have been consumed by humans for about 7,000 years! Therefore, it wouldn’t be fair to say that consuming millets is a new trend!
Its drought-resistant quality makes it attractive as many parts of the world begin to experience a water supply shortage. In a world where rainwater predictability and quantity is decreasing, this is extremely significant. Hence, the comeback of millets is significant when considered in tandem with growing concerns about food security and sustainability.
Slurrp Farm is a leading brand that is at the forefront of the Millets Revolution worldwide: and is raising awareness of this Supergrain across Europe, the Middle East, and South Asia. By bringing the tremendous force of traditional ingredients (such as Ragi or Finger millet; Jowar or Sorghum and or Foxtail millet), used by our grandmothers – to the rest of the world, we are hoping to not just change the way we eat, but also provide a long-term solution to facilitate the reintegration of these grains in tandem with other ingredients for a balanced diet.
What are the health benefits behind millets? Why is important for children’s nutrition?
A: At Slurrp Farm we use ‘Supergrains’! A variety of combinations of Finger millet (Ragi), Sorghum (Jowar), Foxtail Millet (Kangni), amongst other healthy ingredients (such as Amaranth, Oats and Lentils) which are used for our healthy, yummy product offerings.
Here are some of the health benefits of millets:
Finger millet aka Ragi or Nachani is a powerhouse of calcium (10 times more calcium than wheat and rice) and iron and is great for stronger bones. Additionally, it has an excellent source of natural iron and is, therefore, a great addition to the diets of children and adults with low hemoglobin levels.
Ragi abounds in phosphorus that aids bone and dental health, digestion and balances the pH levels in our body.
Ragi’s high-fiber content helps keep people fuller for longer (bye-bye unwanted cravings)- so if your little ones are super active and running around all day, don’t worry, we’ve got their energy levels covered!
Sorghum aka Jowar is a gluten-free grain and is safe for consumption by individuals (esp kids) with gluten intolerance and celiac disease.
It is a rich source of dietary fibre which helps regulate bowel movements, lower levels of LDL cholesterol, and keeps the stomach satiated for longer periods post-meals.
The amount of antioxidants in Jowar is about 3 to 4 times higher than that of other whole grains, making it a super immunity booster.
Jowar has a low glycemic index which makes it an ideal meal inclusion for individuals with Type-2 diabetes.
Foxtail millet is a general source of vital nutrients for the strengthening of muscles and bones. It tastes a lot like Quinoa, is high in protein and is yummy eaten by itself!
Foxtail Millet is rich in Vitamin B12 which is essential for maintaining a healthy heart, smooth functioning of the nervous system, and in general good for skin and hair growth.
A diet including Foxtail Millet may improve glycemic control and reduce insulin, cholesterol and fasting glucose in Type-2 diabetes patients.
Some of the key health benefits of some of the other ingredients we like to use include (a) Amaranth aka Rajgira or Ramdana (which is cultivated largely for its seeds) have a high concentration of proteins, vitamins, and minerals much required for growing children; (b) Oats are a rich source of beta-glucan fiber which is easy on the stomach and helps regulate bowel movements. Certain antioxidants are almost exclusively found in oats which aid in dilating blood vessels, leading to better blood flow; (c) Lentils contain high levels of soluble fiber which helps reduce blood cholesterol levels. 26% of lentil calories are attributed to proteins, which are essential for the growth and repair of our little ones’ bodies.
Why, in your opinion, should schools work towards educating children and parents on eating healthy?
According to the WHO, globally, in 2016 the number of overweight children under the age of five, is estimated to be over 41 million. Malnourishment occurs at both ends of the spectrum, and is not only due to poverty but also due to a diet with too much sugar, salt and friend junk food with preservatives, artificial flavours and colours.
Emphasis on childhood nutrition, therefore, is of utmost importance. Schools and educational institutes play a large role in creating awareness around childhood nutrition.
Schools should always encourage good nutritional habits by not just designing and developing a whole school food policy, but also by involving children and parents in fun ways. Schools and educational institutes should enable them to contribute to healthy eating. Offering healthy foods in school canteens should be made mandatory.
As a part of our endeavor to educate and change the way children our eating, we launched a school initiative started in Bangalore, Mumbai, and Delhi as well as UAE. With the objective to explain the concept of healthy eating, grain diversity, benefits of millets etc. ‘Early Start to Eating Smart’ our program successfully reached out to over 2000 children (2 to 5 years) within the period of three months! We would like to take this to the top 2000 schools of India and the UAE.. The UAE has really strong regulations for food which is offered to children within schools, and the standards set for school canteens is amongst the best in the world.
We are available in tuck shops and canteens of some of the most prestigious schools in both the UAE and India; accredited by schools such as British School India, GEMS schools Dubai amongst others. In the UAE, we are keen to partner with the KHDA to share the learning and fun aspects of our ‘Early Start to Eating Smart’ program.
Please tell us a bit about Slurrp Farm and its benefits.
Slurrp Farm was launched in October 2016, with a mission to provide healthy snacks and mealtime options for young children and their parents. And in just about three years, what started as an experiment in our own home kitchens has now turned into a loved kids food brand. We are currently available in 800 stores in India and UAE. We are also available on all major eCommerce platforms in both countries: Amazon UAE and India, Noon, Mumzworld, Big Basket, FirstCry. In the UAE we are available at several retail stores such as Al Maya, Circle K, Ripe Fresh stores, Geant, Lifco, West Zone Fresh amongst several others.
As mentioned above, at Slurrp Farm, we aim to provide an easy and hassle-free solution to parents who are worried about their little fussy eaters. We use traditional Indian Supergrains and ingredients like millets and lentils with ZERO trans-fat, less sugar than other brands and little to no refined flour (maida) and preservatives. Our product offerings are healthy, tasty and fun. Our cookies are made with real butter and zero trans-fat. We don’t add any synthetic flavors, preservatives or stabilizers. Just wholesome natural ingredients from a mother’s kitchen) or ragi-based munchies (fun starry snacks made with ragi and jowar available in three amazing flavors) to beat the hunger pangs.
Interviewed by Menaka Ramakrishnan, Buyer Manager