Kiru: Factoring in Health along with Taste through Gluten free Millet Snacks

Mahesh Basavanna,  Co-founder

Mahesh Basavanna


India is the largest global producer of millet with a 41.0% market share. Growing inclination of urban population towards healthy food habits coupled with increasing unsustainable nature of rice and wheat production is the key driving force behind the rising demand for millet based FMCG dietary alternatives. Several diseases such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular problems and coronary artery disease are caused by hectic lifestyle and unhealthy food habits. Infusing food items rich in protein, minerals, calcium and iron such as millet snacks into daily life can help in preventing such diseases.

However, cultivation of millet is a forgotten farming practice that used to be the pride of many states in India. In the fast paced world, the millennials, and workaholics search for quick ways to gain nutrition. This is where Kiru came into play to reintroduce millets in a unique compilation of health and deliciousness through a mouth watering range of snacks. These snacks are free of presser vatives or additives. Since its inception in November 2015, Kiru took the initiative to involve local farmers of Karnataka to grow millets in order to enable feasible economic development with the vision of reviving the farming practice of growing millets. Kiru's millets snacks are go-to choices for the ones who look for nutrition in a gluten free, preservative free, fibrous, and delicious way.

Guaranteed Quality Assurance
Kiru offers a delicious range of millet snacks that includes Kiru Millet Crunchies Tomato (Available in 2 SKUs; Rs 10/- & Rs 5/-), Kiru Millet Crunchies Cream N Onion (Available in 1 SKU Rs 10/-), and Kiru Millet Chikkis Peanuts (Available in 1 SKU Rs 5/-). More variants, products, and flavours are in the pipeline and will be launched by early 2022. Kiru Millet Crunchies Masala variant will be launched next followed by the cookies and health bars.

All the KIRU products are 100% Gluten Free, Alkaline, and rich in Fiber. They contain zero transfats and have many vital nutrients & flavours. Kiru Millet Crunchies are baked and are the first of its kind in the world. Extruded millet snacks have never been attempted before and Kiru is the first brand to launch it. Kiru Millet Chikkis are made with pure jaggery, millets & peanuts. With more products in the pipeline, Kiru intends to offer a wide range of snacks, making them fresh
and perfect for all day consumption.

Kiru works closely with the local farmers of Malavalli in the Mandya district, which is also home to the founders. They not only source millets from the land, but they also provide best farming practices and buy back options to ensure economic boost to the local community while bringing this naturally sourced millet snacks to you. Their factory is set up in the village of Thenkahalli in Mandya district to find the grain's way back to its origin. Kiru employs the finest machinery and practices to manufacture snacks that are naturally gluten free, rich in antioxidants and good for digestion. They have a state-of-the-art factory with a production line that can supply 300 MT of crunchies & chikkis respectively and 30 MT of cookies a year. The factory that is surrounded by trees is a green project low embodied energy building. They are also working towards a zero carbon facility wherein all our energy requirement is produced on site, so we don't use grid energy.

Kiru engages the local communities to come up with local product ideas and recipes to give their offering an indigenous touch

In addition, Kiru also encourages local women farmers to work in their factory. Currenty Kiru is working with 500 farmers in an environmen tally sustainable infrastructure. They are expanding to North Karnataka and supplying to Kerala as well.

Growing up with homemade snacks of millets and pastoral millet fields, the founders of Kiru strive for the development of the village they grew up in. With Kiru, they contribute to their village and the legacy of 3000 years old farming practice by growing millet crops in a natural way and developing FMCG food products as nutritious alternatives of 21st century's lifestyle. Kiru is indeed making a statement in the vast space of FMCG by contributing to health and economy by being true to its roots and culture in gluten free and deliciously digestive ways. Mahesh Basavanna, Co-founder of Kiru says, "Kiru engages the local communities to come with local product ideas and recipes to give their offering an indigenous touch. Kiru ensures to convey the farmers their rightful benefits."

Future Roadmap
Mahesh concludes, "In the next phase we want to go to Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu as well. The idea is that we want to make it local and serve the local population. In Tamil Nadu, for example, we want to set up a factory and encourage the local farmers there to get engaged in our production. We will work with women farmers in Tamil Nadu to establish the bonding of soil and traditional farming practices between Kiru and the local farmers there to produce and supply the products locally".

Other Side Of The Story
To the world, Kiru is known as the maker of delicious millet-based snacks but that is not all the story there is to say. Kiru acts as confidant to the farmers who grow the crops for the company. In every way the company helps the farmers to make them achieve better yield, assists them in the process of cultivation and testing of the soil. Finally, Kiru collects all their harvests and ensures that all the farmers get their deserved price and reap the just rewards for their labour.