Foxnuts or Makhana, a kind of dry fruit known as the “food of gods”, has found its way to the dining tables as a fat-free organic food. Makhana processing is a long process and can take three years. But there is a growing demand for fat-free and organic foods and makhana fulfills both the criteria. The percentage of protein and carbohydrate in makhana is 12 and 79 respectively.
Makhana came into focus due to a project report prepared by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) and approved by the Planning Commission for its large-scale cultivation in Madhubani district. Bihar accounts for 80 per cent of makhana produced in the country. It is largely used on socio-religious occasions.
Makhana- the super snack
Today Foxnuts or Makhana is everywhere, vacuum-sealed reusable bags, at parties and during tea-breaks, at work or on university campuses. If you have craving for savoury snack, choose from wasabi, peri peri, mint, cheese and tomato, smoky barbecue or chaat masala-spiked, all punchy. To feed a sweet tooth, there’s caramel, gur or chocolate-coated, all selling at speciality food stores, airports, in corporate offices and cafés across the country.
Makhana is one of the most common dry fruits due to low fat content, high contents of carbohydrates, protein and minerals. The calorific value of raw seeds (362 k cal/100g) and puffed seeds (328 k cal/100g) lie close to staple foods like wheat, rice, other cereals and some aquatic plants like Nelumbo and Trapa. The chemical constituents of the popped kernels (g/100g) are 12.8g moisture, 76.9g carbohydrate, 9.7g proteins, 0.1g fat, 0.5g total minerals, 0.02g calcium, 0.9g phosphorus and 0.0014g iron (Nath et al. 1985) which makes it comparable to dry fruits such as almond, walnut, cashew nut and coconut.
Both raw and popped makhana are fairly rich in sixteen type’s essential amino acids. The values relating to essential amino acid index (EAAI) and chemical score (CS) of makhana are close to that of fish.
We have Abhishek Tripathy with us, a budding entrepreneur venturing into Makhana super snacks. With an exclusive coverage we bring you the excerpts of an interview with him:
You have been in touch with the food industry for quite some time and have made a startup into processed and packed Tal Makhana (Foxnut). Please share your journey for far.
I have started my humble journey in 2005 in sales, working as network marketing with Global Direct, hard-core networking company work on a commission basis. I gradually realized sales is a revenue-generating skill and only motivated people endure. Coming from small town of Uttar Pradesh to fulfill my dream in the land of opportunity city called Bombay, now Mumbai, I always had a dream to achieve something big in life with no proper guidance, no direction, only the zeal to do extraordinary & fighting against the odds. I started with a small job as an event coordinator, event organizer, working with call centre while working I was also sponsoring my study it was tough to manage the day to day life.
After lots of hustling and facing rejection, only one thing came to my mind that life is not a cakewalk & I focused on upgrading my skills in all aspects to get the proper corporate job. My dream came true in 2008 when I got my 1st job in IT internet marketing-based company. I explored a lot of things in digital marketing and sales & finally was awarded as best employee of the Year. I garnered awards from Nasscom – in ‘Top Emerge 50 companies.
With all the achievements and passion to do something on my own was always in my mind hence started my entrepreneur journey in 2012. I have been a consultant, strategist and given my service to many companies in various industries.
HORECA & Food industry being the top in my mind, I have built my network of distribution channel across the country, in fact, helping different brands to develop their business within the community by community-driven marketing. The purpose of creating this community to help food services business and people who are contributing to the HoReCa industry to take their personal & professional career at the next level.
How are Makhanas graded for quality? What is the nutrition value of your product of Makhana? Please mention the range of variants that your portfolio offers?
Healthy snacking has become an enduring habit of snack lovers in the country. Driven by this smart snacking culture coupled with the recent Covid-19 push, a market which has been estimated to cross INR 1 billion will only touch greater heights.
As far as makhana is concerned it comes under the category of superfood and rich in quality many health benefits such as:
1. The Foxnut reduces the cardiovascular risk (Heart Attack) and reduces inflammation.
2. Slows down the ageing process
3. Maintain Blood Pressure
4. Fights infertility -improve the fertility & keeps your body hydrate
5. Rich in calcium -Reduces the Risk of Arthritis
6. Fox nuts as they are gluten-free but still high on protein and carbohydrate content.
7. They are high on magnesium and potassium and low on sodium. This makes fox nuts an ideal snack for those watching their weight.
According to you what is the domestic as well as the global market of Makhana as packed snacks? Where India stands in this category and what are the export challenges faced by it?
A survey conducted by IPSOS has revealed that while 72% of participants were aware of the nutritional needs of the body, 91% of Indians would like to explore healthier alternatives while looking to ‘snack up’. Prompted by a fast-paced lifestyle always pressed for time, people are consciously making healthy snacking an integral part of their regimen. In a recent worldwide poll conducted online on snacking habits and preferences of people that also included Indians, 63% of respondents affirmed that health was a top priority.
Foxnuts are highly popular in countries of APAC such as India, China, Japan, and Thailand. However, the potential of the foxnuts market in Western countries such as the UK and the US is still untapped. With growing consumer awareness about the several health benefits of foxnuts, its demand is expected to increase rapidly in these countries.
To tap into this high growth potential of the market, various start-ups have started offering foxnut products in these countries. The presence of a large number of untapped markets will also encourage new players to enter the market. This, in turn, will drive the growth of the foxnuts market at a CAGR of almost 7% during the forecast period of 2019-2023.
As health and hygiene increasingly become the deciding factor for consumers, they are now consciously avoiding open and unpackaged snack offerings. Instead, they are increasingly flocking to packaged snacks. In recent months, the epidemic scare has particularly given a fillip to the packaged snacks industry.
The global foxnuts market size will grow by USD 72.5 million during 2019-2023.
Every business is established for growth and development. What is your say of automation in this category and what are your future plans on expansion?
As a Brand Tummy Yums flavour makhana will be our signature product along with that we are expanding our product line and providing more option in the healthy snacking category like Ragi chips, quinoa chips, Chia chips, Makai chips, Sweet potato, some innovative vacuum fried chips Kabuli chana and garlic chips, the packaging is going to play a vital role in the food industry in future human intervention is going to reduce for hygiene & safety purpose automaton is going to play a bigger role.
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