Nutreat is now 60+ women strong with a strong belief in our traditional roots that are sustainable for a healthy future in this world. Creating comfort foods with rural women in Andhra since 2017 has shown that zero-carbon footprint processing is possible in the near future.
Founded in 2015 by Jyothi Sri Pappu with a vision of "Get back to our roots by having a porridge" Nutreat has launched 2 porridges for babies & diabetics: "Ukkiri" and "Brown Premix" respectively. Currently, Nutreat handcrafts 130+ comfort foods for customers of all ages, from babies up to 80yrs+, and customizes 8000+ recipes according to their preferences.
Every step was challenging before and after as the path they chose was completely unique despite being a primitive technique. The main challenge was getting helpers. Modern electronics have made people less interested in grinding flour in stone grinders. However, they had overcome this by offering more than regular daily wages for them. We always look for easy and fancy things rather than facts. In the same way, people are much more interested in baby foods imported than those produced locally. Most people, even the well-educated, believe that imported foods are always better. To accomplish this, the team had to work for about a year, convincing the customers about the preservatives added, the empty calories, and providing large amounts of samples. But once they tasted no customer bought highly processed foods. Besides these, the place where they live was a big hurdle in the early stages as it is a rural area they got no chance of retailing or exhibiting. People in those areas are no scope for marketing the product initially. Jyothi had to find her market through lots of research until she signed up for Amazon.
Jyothi’s day job is to run the most ambitious project called "Nutreat" for which she serves as Founder & CEO along with a Furious Women Team. And after 6 months, she will be the mom of two boys. She has also been a Food strategist, a Photo contributor for a few best sites like Shutterstock, Pixabay, etc, a Recipe contributor for DC, TOI, and most importantly a Nomad & Sketch artist.
A glimpse into Jyothi's motivations and strategies for Nutreat
It has always fascinated me to understand the roots of traditions and their significance in human life. Since I was a child, I watched Telugu mythological movies. The dishes my father and I cooked with my mother, talking with neighbors about their own culture, and especially the traditional food processing methods by my grandma all inspired me to find out more about our traditions which were much more intriguing than studying medicine at Sri Ramachandra University.
After giving birth to my first child, I realized that giving him the best doesn’t mean buying the most expensive but only the most effective one. So, I & my mom with the help of my grand mom decided to feed him with the best stone grinding.
But the recipe?
“It’s sprouted ragi flour” I was so skeptical about a high fibrous grain for a little belly, just like my mom was with me. She explained that ragi, though high in fibrous, is easily digestible & even the South Indians ate only Ragi in the early days of agriculture, so we have to find what suits us, and thus we can undoubtedly feed a baby.
After this (When I was confident about Ragi), my research started for the next stages of my baby.
What to feed my baby?
From my grandmother, I learned that our ancestors had recipes for the baby month-by-month (depending of course on the gene and region). I just started searching for the original recipes. Then found Uggu, Ukkiri from Andhra, Kurukku from Kerala, and Sathumaavu from Tamilnadu and served my baby along with regular foods till he was 2 ½ years old.
The difference was evident
Yes, my friends, and cousins everyone has seen the difference between my son & their kids, he fell ill health very rarely which my mom observed with my brother when she gave the sprouted ragi. They requested me for handcrafted foods for their second ones and so I have to start hiring a lady (rural woman) to handcraft the foods.
My husband (Satish Kumar P) works for ONGC and my investor, so we have to stay in a small village called Malikipuram soon after my marriage. Using this method, I am able to provide them with handcrafted foods.
Slowly through word-of-mouth, many such requests came in from various states of India and I need to hire 2 more rural women.
But as we are from South India, North Indians were not that comfortable with the recipes that we offered them. Of course, I too believe that initially, it is best to feed a baby based on his/her gene, region, and digestion.
Slowly, I started approaching different students and professors from different fields, including home science, food technology, etc. to find out the ancient recipes from various parts of India. However, this was not that helpful.
In 2017, there was a request from Maharistra for the handcrafted Maharashtrian traditional recipe Bhardi and Katlu to be adapted to his lactating wife's needs. Then I realized that I have to speak with customers, normal people, and their elders. I spoke with each and everyone possible and took as much information as I could get.
I spoke with them and collected information on their traditional culinary, baby foods & traditional ways of natural treatment for various reasons. Collected recipes like Panjiri, Taniya Congee, Skinny Congee, etc. By this time, we were 20 members strong (me + 19 rural women) and orders were flooding in with the new concept of traditional recipes that could be crafted for babies, women, and of course everyone.
“Talking directly with the customers & their elders gave a clue that every product is not for everyone and they need something personalized according to their requirements”. As a result, I started to work on 'Customization' for a new query to handcraft food for her baby with red rice and brown rice in August 2017.
And now to date, we have customized 8000+ recipes for different people from various parts of the world. You can see how requirements are totally different for various people. Customization added a good customer base to Nutreat in the year 2018.
A recipe that was developed for a 2-year-old kid with very poor immunity who lives in Bangalore, this was a total of 6 months of research on volunteers available from my family. The recipe was inspired by Navaratan kichadi which was served during winters to boost immunity and it is a hot cake from Nutreat.
During the pandemic, while many companies were shut down we had to work more hours as people trusted us and they felt completely a safer product. I made the entire process completely transparent through various social media outlets including Instagram Live, Whatsapp, group calls, and Zoom calls to which people have responded great. My friend Swetha added her steps to my journey of handcrafting during the pandemic when I needed one more person to handle the expansion as by then we were collaborating with SVM (Smart village movement) to create more employment for rural women.
In the same year 2020, we had to work on a special condition “middle-aged women with severe anemia, hair fall, poor eyesight, and dull skin approached Nutreat for a natural supplement a recipe that can serve both herself and her mother with arthritis” then along with Swetha, I designed the recipe Nurtures (Collagen Booster) research that happened for about 3 months of trial & error. The ingredients were chosen from ayurvedic books that are natural but not medicinal. The recipe was a total hit and many chose Nurtures to start their day now.
Inspired by the book Nala Bheemakam
We all know Nala & Bhima were great cooks but how many of us know their recipes? I am lucky to have the book from one of my friends (40 years elder than me, who narrated the many stories with micro-sized detailing and we have to dive deep into it to understand the true essence of the book.
Recipes inspired from the book-
A recipe that involves a total of 11-day procedures, sprouting very long to slow roasting & then stone grinding the ingredients was an immunity booster & natural Vit-B enriched recipe. This recipe was given by Goddess Draupadi who gave her spouse Bhima during the Agnyathavasam before he left for any fight.
Princess Damayanthi used to have this recipe every day for her glowing skin which later Nala use to offer with love. (They might be tales however I feel our ancestors had narrated us recipes through great stories).
Lost recipes from various parts of the world
Necessity is the mother of invention & of course, reinvention. Many customers were career oriented & are busy, they have only one requirement & request for us, that is “Instant & Nutritious”
This made me dwell on recipes from various parts of the world and shortlisted few
Fura- a Lost recipe from African -porridge for Lactating mothers.
Papeda- an Indonesian Porridge (Lost) mostly given to pregnant women & kids.
Genfo- An Ethiopian recipe for women especially to maintain hydration for a longer time.
Peanut Masti- A recipe inspired by peanut butter & healthy alternative to it.
All these were Instant & Crunchy Porridges that are suitable for 1 year & above.
User Based Research- Urjit
Our modern lives are so funny because we want everything fast and the best, including food. Keeping this in Mind a 3 month period of user research was done in the year 2021 with one of our premium customers as a volunteer.
Criteria- Mom should be (Working, health conscious & supportive of local foods) & Kid should be above 1 year.
It should be instant to cook, nutritious, all-natural, crunchy & should be loved by both mom & kid.
The final recipe was porridge with dates that were loved by the kid & mom duo.
With all of these efforts, we were able to make our team strength of 8 women and 120+ rural women. Rural women who lost their employment during the pandemic are all with us now & so happy to earn decent wages.
Currently, the growth of the company is up to 25-45Lks/annum, and have customers all over the globe. The company is all set for franchise opportunities and looking for the right one.
Nutreat with 8 years of experience now collaborates with individual artisans, farmers, and producers from India and brings them all under one roof through www.nutreatglobal.com. It is the artisan's & farmers' responsibility to deliver the best to direct customers, while the team handles customer service, marketing, etc, at a very minimal margin of 10%. This initiative is based on the concept "Grow together”
“If you have a burning desire to achieve the goals you just need to execute it with consistency, rest all come in line” – Jyothi Sri Pappu, founder of Nutreat.