North West mum revives grandma’s homemade, South Indian finger millet porridge mixes
Just before the pandemic kicked in last year, Deepa Vinay launched a home-based food business to introduce, for the first time in the UK, an age-old finger millet porridge recipe. In just under a year, Mumsome has grown three-fold. Their finger millet porridge mixes have become a novelty within the Asian community in the UK.
“Catering for both kids and adults, the mixes are full of nuts, grains and packed with nutrition. It can be consumed as a porridge or shaped into balls/bars for breakfast or anytime during the day when you feel low on energy,” says Deepa.
“Finger millet, also known as ragi, is the staple diet in South India as it’s rich in fibre and packed with iron, calcium, good carbs, amino acids and Vitamin D. There’s been a huge interest in millets nowadays, globally. Ragi is one such wonder millet that has recently made a comeback in a big way,” adds Deepa.
Mumsome allows customer to customise the product within their ingredients list. “All our products are vegan, dairy-free and sugar-free. And yes, we do prepare some products to exclude wheat.”
Mumsome’s journey started when Deepa’s son was born prematurely in Manchester in the winter of 2012. She had to discontinue her MSc Biotechnology course abruptly, although she did manage to complete successfully after a gap year. “I remember, as a child, I was fed finger millet porridge as a cereal for breakfast. So, I really wanted to give the same to my son as it’s so rich and healthy. As soon as my little one was ready for pureed diet, I tried to prepare finger millet porridge as a main source of nutrition,” Deepa narrated.
Deepa initially started to prepare her mixes on a small scale for her family and friends. Gradually, she identified a potential in the market for her homemade ragi porridge mixes. “I tried to make ragi porridge at home in Manchester based on my grandmother’s recipes. As I started getting orders from all over the country, I formally set up the business. Thus, Mumsome was born – to help mothers in their quest to include ragi in their kid’s diet. And yes, our mixes can be consumed by adults too,” clarifies Deepa.
“Bursting with nuts, the mixes are great source of iron, minerals and calcium that children need to boost their immunity and overall well-being. Our smooth mixes, specially designed as an infant’s first weaning food, have become quite popular recently.”
The pandemic was a blessing in disguise for Mumsome. The business blossomed during the lockdown period as more people shopped online. Deepa says, “Sometimes we are inundated with orders and it feels like being on a treadmill. But the effort is worth it when it puts a smile on a mother or child’s face at the other end.”
Last month, Mumsome donated a portion of their profits to NSPCC Charity to promote a good cause involving children. “We teamed up with ‘Work For Good’ to make a small contribution to NSPCC, which works hard to make our communities safer for our children. We’ve been bowled over by the kindness of our customers who supported us during the festive period to make this campaign a huge success,” beamed Deepa.
Deepa has also contributed her own tried-and-tested recipes to the ‘The soft food recipe book’ published by the TOFS Charity UK – an organisation dedicated to helping those who were born unable to swallow.
A few facts about Finger Millets:
• Popularly called ‘Ragi’, finger millet is a nourishing cereal and easy to digest.
• It’s laden with protein, vitamin D, calcium, iron, unsaturated fats and other minerals. It does not contain gluten.
• Ragi is a good source of natural calcium and helps in strengthening bones.
• It contains a large amount of fibre as compared to wheat, rice, or any other grains.
• Ragi in sprouted form contains vitamin C that helps in absorption of iron in the body.