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Millet milk, Bhindi chips and the plant protein push.
Mar 17, 2023

In the international year of millets, it was not surprising that grains like sorghum, ragi and bajra were dominating Aahar 2023, the mega food and hospitality fair held at New Delhi’s Pragati Maidan. From millet flakes to sorghum crisps to ragi dosa mixes and millet noodles, players big and small were showcasing their new ranges. But it was Hyderabad-based start-up Nourish You’s Millet Milk that caught the eye.
The nutty flavoured milk made from sprouted ragi, jowar and bajra that was being soft launched here will be commercially launched at the end of the month in the South, joining the growing basket of lactose free vegan milk alternatives. The one litre Tetra Pak is priced at Rs.299 while the 200 ml variant is for Rs.50. It also has a chocolate flavoured millet milk, and a barista variant that combines beautifully with coffee and will be pushed to cafes.  
'We were already in the superfood space with quinoa and nuts and seeds, now we are adding veganism to our USP,' said Krishna Reddy, Co-founder Nourish You, describing how heavy R&D went into the millet milk.
Going green
Plant protein seemed to be the flavour of the fair, going by many of the stalls at the fair, including those of the big food companies – Tata Consumer Products and Nestle. At the Nestle stall, which had a big crowd waiting to sample the rice being dished out by its chefs using Maggi Lucknow Biryani Seasoning, a giant poster talking about 'plant-based solutions for the future' caught the eye.
The Nestle stall also had a plant-based burger patty crumble for display and tasting and a person at the counter said by quarter four, we could expect a product in this space. Tata Consumer Products was a step ahead as at its stall, the packaged plant-based nugget products, advertised as 'tasting just like chicken' was already on display.  Mock meat products could be seen at several stalls. For instance, there was the Green Protein Co. with a range of plant-based Punjabi keema samosas and Lucknowi Shami Kebab.
Sringeri-based company with a brand called Fruit Treat
 Healthy, natural and local was the other big theme at the fair, especially in the snacks and juices segments. A whole host of beverages ranging from basil seeds infused coconut water, jamun, phalse and bael juices could be seen – many of them from start-ups. Agra-based Vinayak Enterprises was showcasing its brand Nattfru, which had woodapple, phalse and jamun juice in powder form as well as a vending machine. It had sugar free variants of the juices as well. 
Millet milk
In the snacks segment, foxnuts looked so last season as one saw newer varieties of crisps including those made with Jowar and beaten rice chips, served by a brand called Grain Storm. But it was Karanth’s Food, a Sringeri-based company with a brand called Fruit Treat that had everyone coming back for seconds for the samples it had laid out. From carrot chips to lady’s finger and bitter gourd chips, it was a finger licking range of crisps with locally sourced vegetables and fruit.