4 Pals Go back to India After Quitting to Make Vegan Ice Cream The use of Millets

“Hi there Siri. Get me an ice cream.”

“Certain, listed here are some ideas.”

What if virtual assistants may in truth dole out ice lotions as a substitute of simply ideas?

Neatly, whilst Apple’s Siri does no longer have that function, there’s some other Siri that gives scrumptious ice lotions in portions of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana. What’s much more particular is that those ice-creams are millet-based and vegan.

4 buddies — Prabu Venugopal, Shashidhar, Arun Prakash, and Bhargav — began ‘Siri’, a vegan ice-cream parlour in Trichy, Tamil Nadu to modify the definition of this frozen dessert within the nation.

Despite the fact that those globetrotters hailed from other industries, they shared a commonplace thread — all of them had farming backgrounds. So after running in numerous portions of the arena, the 4 pros give up their soft jobs and returned to their hometowns — Prabu and Arun to Trichy; Shashidhar and Bhargav to Hyderabad — in 2016.

They then pooled their various reports in lodge control, meals science, advertising and marketing and finance, and brainstormed concepts to make use of their farmland as a treasured useful resource to construct a thriving meals trade.

Hooked in to development sustainable meals programs, they zeroed in on rising India’s conventional supergrains — millets. Recognized for its drought-resistant qualities and dietary advantages, millet gave the impression of the easiest candidate to advertise each well being and sustainability. Their efforts gave start to ‘Siri Millets’ in 2017 with a challenge to popularise the grain thru value-added merchandise like snacks, flakes, vermicelli, pasta, and a lot more.

Simply as they had been about to release their merchandise on a grand scale, the COVID-19 pandemic dealt a vital blow to their meticulously deliberate methods. But, this adversity grew to become out to be a hidden blessing, spurring them to innovate. Out of this problem emerged the theory of millet-based ice cream!

The trail used to be no longer simple, but they endured with analysis and building for 8 months. In any case, their labour of affection, ‘Siri – Area of Vegan Ice Lotions’, used to be introduced in 2020. With 4 practical retailers as of late, they’re making plans to increase their footprint thru 10 to fifteen retail outlets within the coming few months.

Past offering a vegan, extra nutritious selection to ice cream, they’re additionally running on teaching children concerning the significance of consuming conduct thru consciousness programmes.

So how did they make this millet-based ice cream a truth?

From 4 portions of the arena to India

Prabu (45), a hotelier with over 25 years of revel in within the box, crossed paths with Shashidhar (37), a meals scientist, thru paintings. They was buddies over their commonplace love for meals and diet. Arun (33), a advertising and marketing skilled running in the United Kingdom, used to be Prabu’s neighbour in Trichy, whilst Bhargav (39) is a fintech skilled running in america and Shashidhar’s brother.

Siri ice-creams are millet-based and vegan
Siri ice-creams are millet-based and vegan

Despite the fact that paintings took them to other continents, all of them sought after to ultimately come again to be with their growing old folks. Their households owned farmlands on which they grew paddy, which used to be turning into an issue because of local weather exchange and water shortage.

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“Ahead of the golf green revolution, our grandparents had been rising millets like jowar, ragi, and bajra on their farms, which require much less water and are resilient to local weather exchange. The appearance of the golf green revolution led to a shift to paddy,” Shashidhar tells The Higher India.

Prabu chimes in, as Arun and his circle of relatives too, proportion a identical tale.

It’s no secret that farmers within the delta districts of Tamil Nadu, together with Trichy, have skilled years of deficient paddy yields because of inadequate water for irrigation, forcing many to hunt selection employment.

Hours of debate ahead of they give up their jobs led them to discover the potential for cultivating millets on their current land in Trichy and Hyderabad. Shashidhar even bought an extra 40 acres of land and began rising jowar, ragi, and seasonal greens.

Whilst rising millets used to be one a part of the imaginative and prescient, the opposite phase used to be drawn from their reports. They spotted a shift against wholesome, vegan meals internationally.

“I spotted that nutritional necessities had been converting. There used to be an expanding call for for vegan, non-dairy possible choices, as extra individuals are getting lactose illiberal. In different portions of the arena, folks had been inquiring for almond and oats milk, which made us surprise about an Indian, vegan selection,” Prabu tells The Higher India.

Within the first couple of years after beginning Siri Millets, they introduced millet laddoos, cookies, vermicelli, and rava. They piloted those value-added merchandise in Telangana and Gujarat through offering them to scholars in govt colleges for 45 days at no cost.

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When the COVID-19 pandemic struck the country, interrupting their grand release, the 4 buddies returned to their strategy planning stage to chalk out new plans to avert the setback. That’s when Shashidhar steered venturing into the vegan ice cream marketplace.

‘What would an Indian selection to almond or oats milk be?’ they puzzled. Prabu recalled his consult with to Karnataka, the place he had noticed milk being extracted from ragi and given to kids. With this perception, they idea ‘Why no longer extract milk from millets and convert it into ice cream?’

This idea led them to release their hero product — millet ice cream.

The crew labored out of a 300 sqft area in Trichy, the place they procured machines and set to work on techniques to extract milk from other millets. Over the process six months, they discovered that the key millets — jowar, bajra, ragi, and foxtail millet — produced excellent effects. They then experimented with other sweeteners and end result, and advanced those ice-creams.

A made-in-India vegan ice-cream

After six months of study and building, they in the end began trying out. They introduced samples to neighbours and gated communities in Trichy. The total comments used to be certain with contemporary fruit ice-creams rising a transparent winner.

They labored at the comments for 2 extra months after which introduced their first ‘Siri – Area of Vegan Ice Lotions’ retailer in Trichy in 2020. The flavours they provide vary from vanilla, chocolate, mango, jackfruit, and jamun, to pink guava, dates, banana, musk melon, strawberry, and extra.

“Not like coconut milk, which is utilized in vegan ice lotions, millet milk is delicate and does no longer dominate different flavours. We use other sweeteners in numerous ice lotions, relying at the end result getting used. For instance, jaggery works neatly with some end result, whilst palm sugar works higher with some. It additionally varies relying at the millet getting used,” explains Prabu, including that in addition they promote shakes, waffles, brownies, and different merchandise of their retailer.

One scoop of ice cream is priced at Rs 30, and a one-litre pack is bought for Rs 800.

Siri house of vegan ice-creams has a factory in Trichy, with a 10,000-litre capacity per shift.
The manufacturing facility in Trichy has a ten,000-litre capability in line with shift.

Aside from that, in addition they realised that those nutritious ice lotions are a great way to introduce kids to millets and get them to fall in love with this conventional Indian grain! “Youngsters call to mind millets as a punishment. Analysis presentations that youngsters like ice lotions and shakes, so, this may be a excellent mode to introduce them to those powerhouses of diet,” says Shashidhar.

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The millets are procured from their very own farms, and different farmers in Theni, Dharmapuri, and Krishnagiri in Tamil Nadu.

The undertaking is fully self-funded, with each and every of the 4 founders making an investment a good portion in their financial savings into realising their dream. Their most important hurdle post-launch has been the in style lack of expertise surrounding millets. To handle this, they’ve been diligently engaged in client training tasks, carrying out consciousness campaigns in colleges, faculties, and establishments.

“We realised that step one used to be to create buyer consciousness. We began visiting colleges and faculties to coach the adolescence concerning the significance of nutritious consuming conduct. We consider that wisdom is the important thing to transformation,” provides Shashidhar.

Additionally they take scholars on a manufacturing facility excursion to turn them the producing procedure. In 2023, they established a manufacturing facility in Trichy, with a ten,000-litre capability in line with shift.

This yr, they’ve opened retailers in Hyderabad close to the Statue of Equality and one in Rajahmundry. They’re poised to release 10 to twelve extra retailers within the coming few months.

“For us, group engagement is similarly vital. It’s a motion to convey again the treasures of our ancestors, tailored to satisfy the wishes of as of late’s global,” says Prabu.

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As the rustic is seeing an expanding shift against millets, it is a novel strategy to come with them in our vitamin.

Edited through Pranita Bhat, Pictures Courtesy Prabu Venugopal

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