For most of us, our first taste of solid food was either a spoonful of Cerelac and Farex. But these baby food giants with mega turnovers now face competition from the humble Kemulac.
Kemulac may not have the name and brand presence of the other two but it more than makes up for that by being rich in nutrients. It has no artificial additives, being made up largely of fine wheat powder, ground gram, barley, safed musli, ghee, sugar and jaggery — ingredients all Indian grannies swear by. Its Indianness, in fact, could well be its biggest USP.
The people behind this baby food are not a bunch of clinical factory workers in lab coats but a group of women — many of them mothers themselves — in a remote village called Lohardaga. “The idea was to provide healthy food to children whose parents cannot afford branded food. Made on the lines of Cerelac, our product has gained the confidence of people not only in our village but in local haats,” says Biraj Devi, secretary of Nishi Mahila Mandal, a self-help group.
Kemulac is priced at a modest Rs 52.
Asked if the group planned production on a higher scale for the domestic market, Devi said there was no immediate plan but they would definitely like to do it in the future.
Incidentally, Kemulac is not the only product the women’s group manufactures. It also grows vegetables, safed musli, sunflower and other medicinal plants.
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