In talks with Shubhangi Singh, Founder - Ancient Golden Mill (GOLDEN MILLETS)
Ancient Golden Mill is an innovative millet-based processor & manufacturer which provides about 60+ healthy alternatives which are gluten-free, 100% natural & made with no added preservatives. Their Farm to plate Business model provides a holistic solution to revive & regenerate millet farming through awareness, education, providing good quality seeds etc. They are closely working with 100+ FPOs which cater to 20,000 farmers & are adding more farmers in 5 northern states. Their approach is to achieve world Sustainable development goals (SDGs) by saving water, improving soil quality, reducing malnutrition & empowering people about food & nutrition.
Q: What motivated you to step into the health food business?
These dates 5 years back, when suddenly I was helpless about my mother’s health. We got all tests done, and reports were normal but her health was degrading that's when I started learning from the basics of body, to food nutrition and farming. In this process, I stumbled upon "millets" & the magic they carry to eradicate lifestyle diseases occurred by the poor quality of wheat & allergens. My journey started first i bought these super grains in my house & then decided to do research about the demand, market & innovative products. within 1 year we were with farmers understanding these crops and trying to make products like pasta & noodles.
Q: What kind of research you did before jumping into this business and what findings made you sure it is the way to go?
As we understood grains & studies from our scientists in ICAR and IIMR I started taking training & meeting farmers from various districts of India. we stayed on farms & learned about various millets & their grains. Simultaneously we researched about market, products & company compliances. Once we had a Few products in hand with proven results we started our manufacturing in-house. Awareness about the International Year of Millets 2023 is definitely giving strength to our mission.
Q: Millets are a superfood which have made a comeback in recent years.
What innovation and strategy went into designing your line of millets-based products?
Today's modern lifestyle and food habits need innovative easy-to-cook products like pasta, noodles, ready-to-cook products etc. Our focus is to make millet-based products with traditional methods without adding any preservatives trying to keep the taste as equal to an authentic one.
Q: You have an exhaustive line of millets-based products. What are the growth patterns and market acceptance for these products?
People are ready for healthy alternatives, awareness triggers & helps people choose wisely. Post covid food & health are two topics people are focusing on more and trying to educate on ingredients, preservatives, methods & alternatives. A few years back many people did not even care about food allergies, but now gluten and nut allergies are such big life changers. Our products fit right into today's need & as we care about the quality of grains, and nutrition level and don't add any preservatives our products are easy to switch healthy alternatives with innovative forms like ready-to-cook premix, or super energy bites.
Q: Tell us about the opportunities and the challenges in the Indian health food market
Acceptance of the taste is our major concern. so millet if not stored properly or not cooked properly gives a different taste which becomes the biggest disagreement to make choice. People are so used to Maida products, the texture, taste, and colour all these sensory features play a big role. So we decided on educating through videos & content & tasters in events. The market is new but has a lot of scope.