Opportunities and challenges to bring millets into industrial canteens were brought to the table at an event held in Bengaluru to create awareness of millets among industrial caterers and to highlight the government’s role to assist. Noted chefs showcased the use of millets in recipes during discussions.
Industrial caterers serving corporates expressed the need for food that is popular, widely accepted and inexpensive. The cost of millets vis-à-vis rice and wheat, and the limited awareness, were seen as the biggest challenges to millet introduction in corporate food culture.
While acknowledging the need for variety and taste, Ms Deepti Tripathi, Program Manager, The Akshaya Patra Foundation, shared how the pilot study by ICRISAT successfully introduced millets for children. The millet menu designed was widely accepted and satisfied the nutritional demands for improving the health of the children.
The success story of Growfit, a Bengaluru-based health food company that has introduced exclusive millet meals in their menu, was also showcased during the discussion. CEO of Growfit, Ms Jyotsna Pattabiraman, stressed the importance of research and conducting trials to develop recipes that can be widely accepted.
Dr Meghana Pasi from Aarogya World, a global health non-profit organization, added that millets are nutritious carbohydrates and should be used as substitutes for other grains, but should not replace vegetables. Ms Hema Arvind, Chief Dietician, Ramaiah Memorial Hospital, briefed about millet varieties and their nutritional value.
A demonstration session by Chefs Shyam Prasad, Shashi Sharma, Sridhar Krishnan and Manishkumar Khorwal of MS Ramaiah University showcased the use of millets in traditional breakfast, snack and dessert recipes. The session also showed participants how rice and wheat can be substituted with millets.
Mr K Ramappa, Additional Director of Agriculture, Organic Farming, Government of Karnataka and Prof Govind Kadambi, Pro-Vice Chancellor, MS Ramaiah University, addressed representatives from catering staff of the Indian Air Force, Bharat Electronics Limited and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). Bengaluru’s industrial caterers including Masterchef Catering Services, Rajpurohit caterers, Zenith Food Solutions, Hunger box and Compass India were also present. Health food companies, representatives from the Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Karnataka (AWAKE) and food technology students were among the participants.
The discussions also recognized the need for awareness programs among consumers for successful introduction of millet food. Mr Maheshwar Rao, Principal Secretary, Agriculture, GoK, expressed interest to collaborate with industrial caterers and organize awareness programs on millets.
The event, ‘Introducing Smart Food into industrial canteen menus’ was organized by MS Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), with support from the Government of Karnataka on 15 December. It was the third in a series of events which included a Smart Food Symposium for Fine Dining Kitchens and Smart Food Culinary Challenge for young Chefs.
The event was organized in the run-up to the ‘Organics & Millets 2019 – International Trade Fair’, 18-20 January 2019 at the Bengaluru Palace.