Meet The Startup Churning A Profit From Ghee, A Better For You Butter

Meet The Startup Churning A Profit From Ghee, A Better For You Butter

From grains like farro and quinoa to fermented fare like sauerkraut and kimchi, it’s no secret that “ancient” foods are making a resurgence on modern menus. But that leaves diners wondering, what’s the next age-old ingredient that will be made new again? One founder has her money on ghee. Raquel Tavares Gunsagar launched her company, Fourth & Heart, two and a half years ago to sell her ancient butter alternative to contemporary consumers. For Tavares, timing proved critical. She introduced her product to the market just as America’s obsession with healthy fats, like avocado and coconut oil, was heating up.

After presenting at Expo West in 2015, she captured investor attention and secured a deal with leading organic and natural foods distributor UNFI. Just over a year out from launch and one rebrand later, Fourth & Heart closed a $1 million Series A on crowdfunding site CircleUp, lead by an anonymous private investor. The company, started with $80,000 of her personal savings, did $2.2 million in revenue in 2016, Tavares tells FORBES. “I had an idea and I didn’t know how fast it was going to take off,” says Tavares, who admits that she was surprised by how quickly her product was picked up by retailers. “We were in a small category and the idea was just starting to trend.” Since then, it’s become more mainstream.

Her ghee is now sold in 6,000 points of distribution including chains like Kroger, Whole Foods, Giant Eagle and Central Market. She’s hoping to launch in Target stores in 2017. “I see it picking up the most right now,” she says of the self-staple pantry item.

Why bring ghee back? Ghee, a type of clarified butter, dates back thousands of years to ancient India. It appears in the Indian holy text the Bhagavad Gita and was (and is) still used for religious rituals, as an alternative medicine, and, most commonly, as a staple item in diets and core to cooking many dishes.

Tavares became familiar with ghee at an early age because her mother worked as a registered dietitian and a practitioner of Ayurveda medicine, an ancient and holistic Indian healing system which uses ghee for treatments. When Tavares left her job in marketing, later teaming up with cofounder Lillian Wunsch, she considered what food item she could start a business around and put her unique stamp on. She looked at what had been done with yogurt and peanut butter, and after reflecting on her own experience, ghee became a natural fit. She launched using first her own savings and later a $135,000 friends and family round under the name Tava.

She knew her business was going after the formidable butter market, which produces over 100 million pounds of the spread each month, with big players like Land O’Lakes leading in market share. But, Ghee falls in a category just outside of it, as a butter replacement, like coconut oil. Nevertheless, the subcategory is expanding. According to industry experts, Ghee is the fastest growing category in the nearly $10 billion butter and butter replacement industry.

Why choose ghee over butter? Ghee differs from regular butter in a few key ways. It has a high smoke point, meaning unlike butter or coconut oil, it doesn’t easily burn when heated. It’s naturally spreadable, so it doesn’t need to be softened first and it also doesn’t need to be refrigerated. Ghee is lactose-free because it doesn’t contain any milk solids, which are filtered out during the cooking process. While it doesn’t lower cholesterol, it doesn’t add to it, and is high in fat soluble vitamins A, D and E.

While other, larger, companies like Organic Valley sell ghee, Tavares says no one else offers flavored options. Her variations on the original include Himalayan Pink Salt and White Truffle Salt, among others. Tavares says her product has been showcased by companies, like Whole Foods, that note ghee as a growing trend. This good press has been critical in reaching millennials, and, she says, has helped her take “about 11-14% of existing competition” in the category.

Fourth & Heart ghee is currently sold in glass jars, but, in March, Tavares will unveil a new line of sprays, pourable ghee and single-serving portions.

Looking ahead Although, generally speaking, food trends are fickle at best, Tavares has high hopes for her brand in 2017. “This year is exciting because it’s the year our brand will become a household name,” she says. She’s intent on educating consumers about the many virtues of ghee by going into grocery stores and conveying the brand message and story directly to buyers. In terms of financials for 2017, she looking to raise more money and, “in a perfect world, we’d double our revenue.” Natalie Sportelli , FORBES STAFF

Ghee! Why Clarified Butter Is Good for You

Ghee! Why Clarified Butter Is Good for You

Why Clarified Butter Is Good for You ?

Could butter—that icon of dietary naughtiness—actually be good for you? As it turns out, yes. One type in particular boasts a slew of surprise benefits: ghee, the clarified, concentrated form of the ingredient—an ancient staple of Indian cooking in which water and milk proteins are removed from cow’s milk butter through boiling, skimming, and straining. Hot on the heels of bone broth, ghee has been turning up with increasing frequency at the sort of hip, health-conscious establishments where the unabashed use of animal products might be least expected. “This may sound shocking coming from someone who’s known for guzzling organic green juice, but my diet is 40 to 60 percent fat,” says Moon Juice founder Amanda Chantal Bacon, who, though she mostly avoids animal foods, consumes ghee regularly and sells it at her stores. “I like to think of ghee as spiritual butter; when made with Vedic integrity”—that is, according to the instructions of traditional Hindu scripture—“it feeds our life force, calms the mind and nerves, and promotes the spiritual or psychic heat that is created through yoga. Getting enough good fat has radically enhanced my energy.” Ghee’s fat is “good” because it’s rich in medium chain triglycerides, or MCT, the same type found in health-nut-flavored coconut oil. These fatty acids are absorbed quickly by the body, making them a good source of energy, and have been linked to decreased hunger, increased metabolism, and weight loss. It’s also rich in butyric acid, a short-chain fatty acid which is anti-inflammatory and an essential component of strong immune and digestive systems; the anti-cancer and pro-weight-loss fatty acid conjugated linoleic acid (CLA); and vitamins A, D, and E, and K. Ghee is also a healthy choice as a cooking oil due to its unusually high smoke point of 450–485 degrees Fahrenheit (as compared with, say, extra-virgin olive oil’s 325–375 degrees)—the temperature at which oils begin to burn and release toxic, health-harming compounds. And, it “especially sings in vegetable dishes, because it adds a flavor and richness that cannot be achieved with basic butter or oil,” says Christina Lecki, a chef, ghee aficionado, and protégé of April Bloomfield’s who until recently ran the kitchen at New York’s The Breslin.

What’s more: Because the milk proteins have been completely removed from ghee, it is pure oil—stripped of its “dairy” components—and can even be eaten by the lactose intolerant; this quality also allows it to last several months unrefrigerated.

But it’s Ayurveda—the 5000-year-old wellness tradition in which ghee plays a prominent role—that makes the strongest case for the substance. According to the Charaka Samhita, one of the field’s classical writings, ghee can be used to improve vision, promote longevity, and enhance strength; and improves complexions, memory, and intelligence, to name just a few benefits. Indian teachings also credit ghee with emotional and spiritual healing properties, such as calming the nerves and developing intuition. And who, these days, couldn’t use a spoonful of that? Source : Vogue
Milkio At Gulfood 2017

Milkio At Gulfood 2017

Welcome to the world’s largest annual food event serving one of the fastest growing sectors on the planet.

In a market valued at more than $5 trillion globally, the business opportunities are vast and the stakes are high. To grow, you must remain agile, sourcing the latest products from the most competitive suppliers armed with real-time knowledge of industry pricing and forthcoming trends.

That’s why Gulfood is your gateway to new food business in established, evolving and emerging markets. Only here can you access more than 5000 local, regional and international suppliers from 5 continents during a critical phase in the annual world harvest cycle. Global prices are set here, and it is from this foundation that your business year will evolve.

The MENA region is the third fastest growing region for dairy and has overtaken Eastern Europe with a value CAGR of 4.9% over the forecast period as compared to a global performance of 2.3% over the next five years. The market in the region is unsaturated with per capita spend on dairy at just US$25 per head, the lowest in the world. This means that there is huge growth potential with improving efficiencies in cold storage in a developing retail environment for perishable food. With the exception of Iran, yoghurt and sour milk products has seen a strong performance across all markets.

In line with increased urbanisation, demand for on-the-go dairy solutions will continue to increase due to consumers having less time to prepare food, especially with female participation in the workforce on the rise.

*Source: Euromonitor International

Rujuta Diwekar on why you shouldn’t skip rice, ghee and sugar

Rujuta Diwekar on why you shouldn’t skip rice, ghee and sugar

Rujuta Diwekar on why you shouldn’t skip rice, ghee and sugar


We are at Rujuta Diwekar’s (38) Khar office — a minimal room with a wooden floor, comfortable couches, and a painting of the body’s energy points or chakras. Unassuming yet welcoming, a lot like Diwekar herself.

Nutritionist to celebrities such as Kareena Kapoor Khan (she helped her turn ‘size zero’ for Tashan, 2008), Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan, Diwekar was one of the first Indian bloggers on the scene. She started Rujuta’s Gyan (rujuta in 2008, and wrote about her take on health, dieting and food. With bestsellers like Don’t Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight (2009) and Women and the Weight Loss Tamasha (2010) behind her, she is now out with a fourth book — Indian Superfoods.

Much like her other works, this book, too, champions the idea of eating foods you are familiar with but consider unhealthy. Think rice, ghee, sugar and cashews. What’s the catch? You need to eat it fresh, locally sourced and in the “versatility it is meant to be eaten in”. And exercising and sleeping right, meanwhile, are non-negotiable, of course.

Back to basics

The foundations of this philosophy were laid during Diwekar’s childhood when she would visit her grandparents’ farm in Sonave (a village in Palghar district, Maharashtra). “All my vacations would be spent there. My cousins and I would help grow and harvest the crops. That was our entertainment, and a tool for learning,” she recalls.

Diwekar started her practice in 1999, armed with a postgraduate degree in sports science and nutrition from SNDT College. Her first clients were fitness conscious actors and industrialists. Diwekar remains full of praise for the former: “The easiest people to work with are celebrities. They are the most disciplined.”

It was her experience at her grandparents’ farm that made Diwekar realise the importance of sustainable living. “Today, we are told about a particular ingredient that’s supposed to be the ultimate thing to lose weight. Tomorrow, the same ingredient is touted as the biggest villain. How often can you change the way you live?” she asks.

Instead, Diwekar advocates that we follow our grandmothers’ wisdom, and not be swayed by modern trends like stocking up on quinoa and kale — the two biggest trends internationally in recent times. “Quinoa doesn’t sit well in your stomach nor does it blend with anything. And until two years ago, we didn’t even know what kale was. Now, we have it in every form. We are copying the poor man’s food from a different continent. There is such diversity in the food of our own country — grains, legumes, pulses — but are overlooking it.”

So, how did the definition of nutrition become synonymous to filling your plate with unpalatable foods? When did we became a nation that rejects ghee but takes to olive oil? “The demarcation of carbohydrates, proteins and fats was meant to help people make sensible decisions. But it has just left people confused. These days, selling anything by terming it ‘trans fat-free’ or ‘sugar-free’ is lucrative. The only people benefiting are those in the food and weight-loss industries,” she says.

But telling people that the global ‘health’ foods fads they’ve bought into are unnecessary must be tricky. Diwekar, on the other hand, says people are relieved. “They are reminded of the time in school or college when they would eat everything, and still be healthy.”

The next round

Aiming for a holistic view on life, Diwekar started Beyond Weight Loss — a series of programs targeted at overall well-being — early this year. As part of it, she hosts a talk at her Khar office every month. The talk is live-streamed on Facebook as well. Past events have included a dhrupad music concert and a financial talk on why women should invest.

Diwekar is also working on a book on child obesity. Another project that she is keen on is the Sonave Community Farming Project, where she takes Mumbaikars to her ancestral farm to grow their own food. The idea is to raise awareness about the goodness of Indian food and ensure it doesn’t come back repackaged from the west. “We should not wait for the West to acknowledge it as something of value. A diet that is not culturally compliant is a diet that won’t last beyond two meals. Why is killing yourself at a gym and starving a better idea than giving food we grew up eating a chance?”

Source : Hindustantimes

Rujuta Diwekar on why you shouldn’t skip rice, ghee and sugar

7 Surprising Reasons Why You Should Use Ghee More!

7 Surprising Reasons Why You Should Use Ghee More!

Imagine the sight of smooth butter, slowly melting on top of a hot paratha, makes your mouth water right? Well, as much as we love butter, there is a healthier alternative that you could use in the kitchen – ghee! Most of us, especially in India would be quite familiar with ghee, right? We use it to prepare various dishes, including sweets, fried foods, etc.

In south India, people even use it to mix their rice with various masala powders, to add a great taste to the dish. Ghee is nothing but butter that is clarified, which means, the water and the milk solids present in butter are removed, by simmering and churning the butter, to obtain ghee.

Ghee is said to have originated in ancient India and is still used in many holy rituals, like ‘homas’, as ghee is considered to be an auspicious ingredients, probably owing to its medicinal properties. So, if you are wondering why it is better to use ghee instead of butter, then here are 7 reasons!

1. Improves Bone Health Ghee contains a high amount of vitamin D, and vitamin D helps your bones to absorb calcium much better, thus making the bones healthy and strong.

2. Keeps Eyes Healthy As ghee is rich in vitamin E, it has the ability to nourish your optic nerves and keep your eyes healthy and well-lubricated.

3. Contains Healthy Fats Unlike butter, ghee is filled with healthy fats, or omega-3 fatty acids, that can be very beneficial to your brain cells and your health in general.

4. Improves Digestive Health Ghee contains an enzyme known as butyric acid, that can decrease the inflammation that can occur in your intestines, to prevent acidity and other digestive disorders.

5. Prevents Cancer As ghee is rich in a compound known as conjugated linoleic acid, it can prevent cancerous cells from forming and multiplying in the body, thus helping in the prevention of cancer.

6. Reduces Skin Inflammation Ancient ayurvedic remedies make use of ghee to help soothe skin inflammation, cuts and burns, due to its anti-inflammatory property.

7. Curbs Appetite The omega-3 fatty acid present in ghee has the ability to reduce hunger pangs and curb appetite, thus aiding weight loss.


Grass Fed Ghee: What Are The Health Benefits?

What Are The Health Benefits Of Grass Fed Ghee?

Ayurveda claims that ghee has a host of health and cooking benefits and is beneficial for both the mind and the spirit. Ghee is made by a simple process of boiling butter and then removing the butterfat, leaving behind the proteins (casein and whey) and the milk solids (which includes lactose). This is known as clarified butter. If eaten in moderation, ghee can provide your body with higher concentrations of essential nutrients that aren’t available in butter.

Health Benefits of grass fed Ghee

Here is a list of important health benefits obtained by consuming ghee.

  1. High Smoke point: Since it cooks at a higher point than almost any other oil, the advantage is that it won’t break into free radicals like that in other oils. Free radicals can potentially be harmful to health, and when oils reach beyond their smoking point, it can be hazardous to a person’s respiratory system. Ghee also has a higher smoke point than butter.
  2. Reduce Risk Of Heart Disease: Ghee is rich in conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, a fatty acid known to be protective against carcinogens, artery plaque, and diabetes. Because of this, researchers say ghee can be used to prevent cardiovascular disease.
  3. Weight Loss: When ghee is derived from grass-fed cows, the butter contains cancer-fighting fatty acid that aids in weight loss.
  4. Better Digestion: Ghee is rich in butyric acid. Beneficial intestinal bacteria convert fiber into butyric acid and then use that for energy and intestinal wall support. According to the author of Prescription of Nutritional Healing, butyric acid is “a monounsaturated fatty acid that reduces inflammatory conditions, reduces seepage of undigested food particles, and aids in the repair of the mucosal wall.”
  5. Lowers Cholesterol: Ghee is high in palmitic acid, which is artery-clogging. Studies have shown that ghee can reduce cholesterol both in the serum and intestine. This is done by triggering an increased secretion of biliary lipids.
  6. Skin: Ghee is known to purify the skin and give it an added glow. It acts as a natural moisturizer when used regularly. It’s also known to reduce burning sensation of the skin, heal scars, chicken pox scars and more.

Source : curejoy