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This North Girl Combined a South Twist and Millets to Found a Healthy Startup!

This North Girl Combined a South Twist and Millets to Found a Healthy Startup!

“All my friends started calling me ‘Millet Amma’ and after a point they told me that they wouldn’t be accepting the batter for free. That is how the startup was birthed,” says founder Ruchika

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As someone who does not like the toast-cereal-milk routine, I was thrilled when I moved to Bengaluru because I could finally eat yummy dosas every day! This versatile Indian pancake is widely available, super healthy, filling, and is a wonderful option for not just breakfast, but also lunch and dinner.

But what if it could be made healthier?

‘Millet Amma,’ a startup by Ruchika Bhuwalka in 2018, is striving to do exactly that by selling millet-based dosa and idli batters, that can be used to make dosas that are not just supremely nutritious but also delicious.


Want to try Millet Amma’s delicious and healthy products? Check them out on Karnival!


Millet Amma’s dosa batters are made up of healthy grains.

 

While she began by primarily catering to friends and family, she now has 4000 customers!

“I truly believe that watching what you eat is something that would help us lead a healthy life. Therefore, all the products that we sell are hand made from organic grains sourced from 300 farmers spread across Karnataka and do not contain any chemicals or preservatives,” she explains.

Ruchika Bhuwalka founded the startup in 2018

Love for all things millet

Ruchika was born and brought up in Kolkata, while her ancestral home is in Rajasthan. “I grew up among foodies. We literally ate everything in sight without keeping a calorie count,” laughs the 42-year-old.

However, once she shifted to Bangalore in 2003, she realised the importance of a healthy diet.

“My husband suffered from excruciating backaches. We visited several doctors and learnt that while our sedentary lifestyle is to blame, diet also plays an important role. Eating a large amount of inflammatory food can cause muscles to contract without relaxing, and since the spine is what supports the body, an unhealthy diet can put a lot of strain on the back,” she explains.

The healthy pizza base by Millet Amma

The duo changed their eating habits after the doctor’s visit and did away with food high in sugar.

“But, I knew that a diet of just fruits and vegetables would not provide the nutrition that the body needs. Which is why I started experimenting with organic, unpolished indigenous healthy grains,” recalls Ruchika. Thus began Ruchika’s research and she stumbled upon millets, specifically barnyard millet which is very similar to broken rice when cooked.

“I substituted the rice in the dosa batter with the barnyard millet, and the results were fabulous! My husband couldn’t even tell that it was made of millet,” exclaims Ruchika.

Ruchika’s barnyard millet-based dosa batter grew increasingly popular among friends and family members. So much that she even started requesting her to make this batter for them.

“All my friends started calling me ‘Millet Amma’ and after a point, announced that they wouldn’t be accepting the batter for free. That is how the startup was birthed,” smiles Ruchika.


Want to try Millet Amma’s delicious and healthy products? Check them out on Karnival!


Eat Healthy, Live Better

Royal Mukhwas and the curd dip

Ruchika started by making the barnyard millet dosa and idli batter, and today, she has diversified to batters made from grains like ragi, foxtail millet, red rice and brown rice. Jowar-based batters are made on demand.

Apart from all the batters, she also make pickles, chutneys, podis, and dips. “Our Moringa (drumstick leaves) chutney is one of the most popular products. Not only is it rich in Vitamins A and C, but it is also a good source of iron, potassium and calcium. You can eat this chutney with you meals, dosas, idlis, chapatis and even as a sandwich spread,” explains Ruchika.

Other interesting items include a curd dip with chilli garlic and dill, energy bars made using jaggery, dry fruits, nuts and seeds.

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All of Millet Amma’s products have the FSSAI certifications in place, and they are also hyper focussed on sustainability.

Ruchika at an exhibition where Millet Amma had set up a stall.

“Customers who return empty dosa batter containers receive a 10 per cent discount on their next order, and we recycle the packaging. Also, the paper bags we use are bought from an NGO and are made by differently-abled children,” says Ruchika.

Awesome products deserve awesome customers

Shikha Khanna is a baby photographer based in Bengaluru’s Whitefield area. The 38-year-old and her family follow a diet which is devoid of processed food and focus on whole grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, vegetables are essential components in her family’s diet.

Shikha also moderates a health initiative called ‘Health Diaries.’

“Here, we organise workshops and speak to people about healthy life choices. It is the easiest thing to do, and is, essential to keep diseases at bay,” says Shikha.

Shikha would often visit exhibitions on organic products, and this is where she bumped into Ruchika.

“I love Millet Amma’s range of products because they are organic and healthy. My son is a huge fan of the pizzas I make with their pizza base, and we love the chocolate and millet cookies too,” she declares.

Challenges and future plans

Bestsellers Moringa Chutney and the curd dip

Running a startup is full of challenges, even if it is successful, and this is true for Ruchika as well. Despite being able to run her startup successfully, there are a few challenges that Ruchika mentions.

The first is the shelf life of the dosa batter.

“It has a shelf life of 14 days and getting it to customers on time was initially a challenge for us. Today, we have our delivery guys who have divided our customers based on areas to finish the deliveries well within time,” she says.

In case of deliveries outside Bangalore, they have tied up with delivery partners and immediately ship the orders after personally speaking to the customer.

The other challenge that she faced was that the price of her products is continuously compared to other items in the market.

“This is something we have encountered often. But our prospective customers need to understand that our products are not only preservative-free but also organic. Most of the grains that are used to make the conventional dosa batters are polished grains. We have ensured that we use organic whole grains that we have sourced ourselves,” explains.

However, Ruchika is undaunted by these challenges.

“I have not only seen family, friends and customers but also children enjoying our products. That makes me happy, and it is proof of the fact that they are not only healthy but also tasty. In the future, we hope to reach out to more customers with the hope that they too can adopt a healthy lifestyle,” she signs off.


Want to try Millet Amma’s delicious and healthy products? Check them out on Karnival!


(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)

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