Founder Moms Of Slurpfarm Spoon Out The Secrets Of Deliciously Healthy Packaged Food For Kids
- IWB Post
- January 9, 2018
Ask any parent about their biggest challenge with their kids and most of them would say that making them eat food is like the toughest job in the world.
From making up all kinds of absurd stories to running behind them with the food plate, parents have to think a new way of feeding their child every day.
“So, how to make food tasty, appetizing, and attractive for them?” was the thought and the ulterior inspiration that led the Delhi-based moms Shauravi Malik and Meghana Narayan to setup Slurpfarm.
Slurpfarm creates healthy, wholesome, and tasty snack foods for children, mostly organic and are always preservatives-free- and they come in attractive packaging. Slurpfarm mascots, Indian animals like the monkey, the rhino, the crocodile, the tiger, and the parrot will make sure that each treat is an adventure for your kids.
“We want to establish Slurpfarm as a story brand. As Indians, we have all grown up listening to the tales of bhalu, Bandar, haathi, sher, etc. and we wanted to inculcate healthy food habits while connecting with them emotionally,” confided Meghana in an interview with us.
Interestingly, both the moms were from very diverse fields before they came together for Slurpfarm. Done her Masters in Economics from Cambridge University, Shauravi worked as a finance professional for many top-notch companies including J.P. Morgan. On the other hand, Meghana holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and was an Associate Principal at McKinsey & Company, Delhi where she led the public health practice. A national-level swimmer, Meghana’s another impetus to start with Slurpfarm was to provide the balanced nutrition to the kids in India with the hope to create better and stronger sportspersons for the future.
We had a fun chat with the two mompreneurs and dug in the secrets of Slupfarm. LOL!
Shauravi: Oh, every day was a food drama day! Roshen wanted to hold his food while eating it. I have done a zillion experiments with food to make him eat the veggies. Of course, the stories that we cook while feeding the kids! Until I had my own kid, I didn’t understand the rigidity and the fuss that the kids create while eating food. Some days, they only want those monkey-shaped cookies, other days they want crocodile cereals to float in their milk.
Meghana: Ahhh, it’s just exhausting! And, no parent is spared from this drama which is why we created Slurpfarm.
Me: We read on your website that all your products are actually your grandmothers’ recipes! What tricks did your grandmom and mom use to make you eat the healthy food when you were kids?
Shauravi: I myself was a fussy eater *embarrassed laugh* My mother had a hard time feeding me. She too experimented with food and tried making different things every day. But, all in vain! The last resort was to just stuff all the food in my mouth.
“OMG! My mother did the same thing to me, too!” I chimed in. (And, secretly felt happy that I wasn’t an oddball! He-He!)
Me: In your bio, Shauravi, you have mentioned how your school, Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, had no junk-food philosophy. How did it shape your food habits and would you recommend to other schools, too, follow the same policy to ensure better health?
Shauravi: There were no aerated drinks and no junk food. They only had a few healthy snacks and refreshing nimbu paani in the canteen. We also had a food festival in our school, every year, in which even parents participated. We were encouraged to bring popular Indian dishes from different states. It was a beautiful way to teach the kids about the diverse food culture of India and show them how nutritious it is! A school’s values and the mode of conduct has a major influence on a child’s life and I think if a school encourages children to make a choice from healthier food options than it will shape the food habits of the kids in a better way.
Me: What was your favorite cheat food as a child?
Meghana: Bhelpuri! Basically, we love all sorts of Indian chaat!
Meghana: One, if your child didn’t like a certain food item on one day, then do not give up and feel that he/she will never eat it again. Try again on some other day with another recipe and reintroduce it in a new way.
Second, when your child is about a year and a half or two years old, try and feed him/her with different types of grains. We have easy access to large varieties of grains in our country, but unfortunately, people are only eating rice and wheat. Include millets, maize, ragi, and other grains as each one of them provide with diverse micro-nutrients which will ensure the wholesome nutrition.
Third, most parents complain that their kids are not gaining weight and resort to all kinds of ways to force-feed them. To be honest, the weight charts that the doctors have are not for Indian kids. They are basically using UK weight charts! If your baby is healthy and active, then do not stress yourself with their weight.
Shauravi: I would add another thing that as kids, we used to eat all types of food, unlike today’s time, when most parents have the Sugar fear. I would say that we should let our kids eat everything, the only key is moderation. Childhood should be fun and we need to create that sweet balance. The only evil is excess. Like Michael Pollan advocated, I think we should include diverse food grains in our kids’ daily diet.
Meghana: Wholewheat, Ragi, Oat, Banana & Apple cereal and Wholewheat, Ragi, and Chocolate cookies are very popular with the parents as they have become increasingly aware of the high-nutrition value of Ragi. The kids love the khichdi cereal, Wholewheat, Moong, Rice, Spinach & Tomato, and the oats cookies.
Me: What are your quality check standards?
Meghana: We have a lot of regulatory standards as per FSSAI product guidelines and as far as the manufacturing standards are concerned, we are very selective with whom we work. We only collaborate with manufacturers who are GMP and HACCP certified.
Me: Name one food item for the following:
Food that should be completely excluded from the diet: Dalda
One superfood to include: Ragi and millets
One food which is not as nutritious as it has been marketed: So, there are lots! I am not saying that they are falsely marketed to be nutritious, but, the challenge is to actually know the context, the form, and the way the food item will benefit the most. For eg., everyone nowadays is propagating the health benefits of eating coconut oil. But, I have seen people using those refined coconut oils in their foods. Imagine!
Food item to maintain your child’s energy levels throughout the day: Banana
Meghana: *giggles* So, apart from Roshen (Shauravi’s son) and my daughter, Nandita, there’s a group of about 18 other little munchkins who taste and approve our products. Our kids’ age has a major role to play in our product choices and range. With them, even our products are also growing and evolving.
Me: Why are your products the perfect food for the stay-with-the-daddy days?
Shauravi: *laughs* Because it tastes exactly like how a mother would’ve prepared it and it is available even when the mommies are not around them!
Me: What’s new growing on your Slurpfarm?
Meghana: So, we are launching a new drink which is completely organic and high-in-energy. It will be made of sprouted Ragi, cocoa, and jaggery. Also, we are coming with two types of pancakes made out of millets and oats.
Shauravi: We are a self-funded startup and we do not have a big marketing budget, to be honest. Our products are completely organic, healthy, and nutrition-packed to assist in the wholesome growth of your kids. And, this is what we want to bring forth to the parents. Our aim is to build a relationship with the parents and to clarify all their doubts about child nutrition. And, we do that through engaging into heart-to-heart conversations with the parents, online as well as offline. For offline, we connect to the parents through various exhibitions and fares.
Me: There’s a lot of apprehension on the part of parents regarding the packaged food. What should they bear in mind while picking packaged food for their kids?
Shauravi: Absolutely true! The parents, today, fear to give their children anything that comes in a packet. And, we don’t blame them because we know the kinds of packaged food items that are available in the market. This was another thing that we wanted to address through Slupfarm. We are trying to get it across to the people that there should not be any funky ingredients in the packaged food. By funky, I mean anything which is not available in your kitchen and no artificial preservatives. We always tell the parents that you cannot have a product which is priced at Rs. 10, as crispy, crunchy, and healthy. It’s not possible! Have realistic expectations and know that good food costs money.
So, education is important on both ends to eliminate the distrust amongst the parents about the packaged food.
Me: Can an adult also slurp away your products? Please say yes!
Meghana: Of course! Our cookies are for everyone and are very good for people who workout. They are great as body-building foods!
Me: Fun experiments you did with Slupfarm products and would suggest other parents try out, too!
Shauravi: Sometimes the cookies get crumbled. So, I make a yummy milkshake out of them. I would strongly recommend people to try making pancakes out of our cereals. All of you will love them!
P.S. To know more about Slupfarm products, you may visit their website here.
(First published on April 28, 2017)