Oct 8, 2021

Self reliance in food - part II

A few days back, I had made a jar of ragi (finger millet) muesli. My brother and my husband had a bowl of this muesli for breakfast and were surprised to note that it was homemade. Both of them said to me, "this tastes really good. Much better than store bought ones. You should start selling them".

As I pondered over this idea, I realised that this is exactly what I don't want to do. This rationale might sound counter intuitive or a clear lack of business sense. But hear me out.

1) There are tons of brands stacked up on supermarket shelves. I don't want to add one more and complicate the decision making process of consumers even further.

2) For a product to be packaged and sold, there are a few compromises being made to the authenticity and quality of the product. For eg, idli chutney podi's flavor primarily comes from sesame seeds but because it can turn the podi rancid in a few weeks, big brands like MTR that need a longer shelf life completely avoid adding sesame seeds. Muesli's taste and texture comes from nuts and seeds but because of the cost factor as well as the need for longer shelf life, there are hardly any nuts and seeds in store bought muesli.

3) This is the most important reason for me. My primary goal is to encourage people to be producers/creators and become self-reliant without relying on market forces to meet every single need. For eg, making muesli at home is hardly a 10-15 min work, provided we have stocked up on grain flakes, nuts, seeds and dry fruits. Making our own batters, spice powders, condiments, pickles and laddoos, setting curd, making paneer, baking tea cakes and muffins - all of these are possible at home. Benefits are multifold - much more healthier, hygienic, cost effective and most importantly, the joy of making something with our own hands is unbeatable. Once we know the procedure, it doesn't take a lot of time when carefully planned and executed. I'd rather prefer that we all become self-sufficient than be consumers for life.

All we need is to question whether we are really as time-starved as we think.

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