The Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysore, submitted a proposal to the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-Tech (CSIR-Tech) that would enable research institutes to establish a company to manufacture and market its Green Milk, a product aimed at containing malnutrition in India.
Green Milk is prepared from Moringa (a soluble protein); Portulaca (leafy oils); chicory (CH20) inulin, mushroom Vitamin D2, and Chia/Ocimum (an emulsifier). The entire composition, including proteins, fats, sugars and Vitamins A and K, is from plant sources.
The idea was to have an alternative to animal milk that is equivalent to human milk and a pure vegetarian beverage. The contents of milk are known for their characteristics and nutritional role. CSIR-CFTRI’s research team looked at similar and better molecules in other plants and put them together to constitute the product.
Green Milk was unveiled to the public to taste during the seventh essay of the International Food Convention, which was held in Mysore in December 2013, and garnered a positive response from healthcare providers too.
“The enquiries has been mind-boggling as considerable interest was evinced not just from food processing companies, including the ice cream industry, nutraceutical and health drink manufacturers, but from organisations associated with the prevention of cruelty to animals,” Prof Ram Rajasekharan, director, CSIR-CFTRI, Mysore, stated via telephone.
“This led us to ponder over a spin-off within the institute to establish an industry to scale up from lab to land. There is a provision in the government of India that a company could be set up by a research institute like ours. So we are exploring such an option through CSIR-Tech, and it will take a year for the required clearances,” he added.
The product, currently referred to as Green Milk (Version 1.4) because it took a year and four months to get the first beverage samples. It can be used as a nutritional beverage, as an alternative to milk. During the research, the milk has been used in preparation of hot beverages like coffee and tea too, though some fine-tuning is required in terms of taste.
Now that the research and development (R&D) is complete, the next obvious step is to scale-up the process and reformulation to provide tailor-made milk for each age group. This is because Green Milk has the big advantage that the constituents could be put together to suit different needs.
It could either be protein-rich milk for infants or low-fat, low-calorie milk for the aged, and could also be a beverage sans allergenic properties, as it does not contain lactose. In terms of nutrition, green milk comes very close to mother’s milk.
“In terms of shelf-life, Green Milk could be stored as a powder and reconstituted whenever needed. We are working on the aspect of long-duration storage to make it more useful,” said Prof Rajasekharan.
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