EDISON, NJ. — Pearl millet is a key ingredient in Kanira, a new line of South Asian-inspired, gluten-free breakfast biscuits.
Mumbai native and business consultant Vishal Ramakrishnan created the brand in response to a rise in Eastern wellness ingredients such as turmeric, ghee, ashwagandha and chai in American diets. The products are formulated with a gluten-free blend of pearl millet, amaranth and almond flours, plus coconut sugar, coconut oil, flaxseeds and chia seeds. Flavors include chai spice, turmeric and ginger, and coconut and cardamom.
“Similar to brands such as Siete Foods, A Dozen Cousins, Dang Foods and others, Kanira is a brand that creates wholesome products utilizing heritage-inspired ingredients and flavors,” said Mr. Ramakrishnan, founder and chief executive officer of parent company Pravi Food Ventures. “Our goal is to allow South Asian-Americans to feel represented by a mainstream, better-for-you brand, utilizing ingredients and flavors they may be familiar with. In addition, we want to speak to a larger American audience and educate them on how better-for-you products can be healthy, delicious and sustainable while telling a heritage-led story.”
Kanira translates to “grain” in Sanskrit. A climate-smart crop, pearl millet is rich in prebiotic fiber, protein and iron, plus vitamins and minerals, including zinc, magnesium and potassium, according to the company, which sources the ingredient from smallholder farmers in Rajasthan, India.
“We are truly a clean alternative to all the other breakfast biscuit options currently in the market,” Mr. Ramakrishnan said. “Compared to competitors, our biscuits contain 50% less sugar, more protein and more prebiotic fiber. In addition, we do not use any refined sugars or sugar alcohols, instead utilizing unrefined coconut sugar to sweeten our products.”
Additionally, he noted, the products are vegan, dairy-free and free from artificial preservatives, gums, starches or lecithin.
“We’re just getting started on reinventing the breakfast category,” Mr. Ramakrishnan said. “We believe that there is a lot of room for flavor and product innovation in the category and look forward to introducing more products made with South Asian heritage-inspired ingredients and flavors.
“Our goal is to use various types of millets as the main basis for our products, advocating for increased adoption of these nutritionally dense, wholesome and climate-smart ingredients in our diets. We truly believe that their superior nutritional characteristics and ability to withstand high temperature and drought-like conditions will make millets a larger part of our diets, as our food and agricultural systems adapt to the effects of climate change.”
Kanira products are available to purchase online at kanira.co and Amazon.com.