USSEC Holds Demonstrations of Soy Fortified Wheat Flour, Maida and Besan in India
- General News
USSEC held demonstrations of soy fortified wheat flour, maida (refined wheat flour) and besan (chickpea flour) in India. On December 23, a flour miller’s workshop was held in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, followed by a live cooking demonstration held in Ahmedabad, Gujarat on December 30.
Both events focused on demonstrating and explaining the functional, nutritional and economical aspects of soy fortified wheat flour, maida (refined wheat flour) and besan (chick pea flour) based food products. Participants included local flour millers; snack food manufacturers; chefs; institutional caterers; a minister, officers and staff from government food programs; representatives from India’s food and nutrition board and Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS); the Institute of Hotel Management; soy food entrepreneurs; bakery industry representatives; soy flour manufacturers; soy flour re-packers; super stores; retail chains; and media. In Lucknow, product demonstrations were conducted by a renowned team of chefs who prepared north and south Indian main dishes and desserts as well as Mexican and Italian foods. The event in Ahmedabad was similarly organized, but the main emphasis of the program, however, focused on besan based snack foods and sweets. The state of Gujarat is the highest consumer of besan in India and it is mainly consumed in main course dishes, snack foods and sweets.
After the live product demonstrations in Lucknow, a minister in the Uttar Pradesh (state) government spoke about the quality, nutrition and economy of soy flour fortified products, explaining that soy flour is much cheaper than besan. This minister will forward his recommendation to the Indian government to expand soy utilization in mass feeding programs and to begin its use in government-run canteens, restaurants and other mass utilization venues. He added that although the price of wheat flour is cheaper than soy flour, when soy fortification is evaluated in terms of protein and other nutritional improvements, soy fortified wheat flour is an excellent way to provide nutrition at a lesser cost. The head of the nutrition department from IT College, Lucknow also talked to attendees to explain the usefulness of soy in government feeding programs, extending her cooperation to develop soy based recipes for Mid-Day Meal (school lunch program). Mid-Day Meal is the largest feeding program in Uttar Pradesh providing over 20 million schoolchildren with a meal fulfilling protein and calorie requirements. An attending officer from the Uttar Pradesh Mid-Day Meal Authority asked his staff to coordinate with the IT college and USSEC to develop soy based recipes suitable for their program.
After the cooking demonstrations in Ahmedabad, the coordinator of the Gujarat Flour Millers Association spoke on soy fortification opportunities in the feeding programs and the Public Distribution System (PDS). This speaker had been previously involved with local soy flour manufacturers in convincing the Gujarat government to introduce soy in the feeding programs and the PDS successfully. Other experts spoke about the commercial prospects of using soy fortified besan by the snack food industry and entrepreneurial aspects.
Wheat flour and besan are staple foods used on a large scale throughout India in main courses, snack foods and sweets. USSEC plans to continue conducting such programs on a regional basis to enhance soy fortification opportunities on both regional and national levels. By using this program to convey the benefits of soy fortified products, USSEC hopes to generate a substantial volume of soy utilization through the fortification of wheat flour, maida and besan with soy flour.