Start-up tackles India’s protein deficiency problem

Wanting to tackle India’s protein deficiency problem, a sibling duo has launched a line of protein products that targets families.

Jaipur-based Gladful, founded in 2021 by Parul and Manu Sharma, offers a range of high-protein cookies, snack bars and baking mixes for the traditional breakfast food chilla (a type of pancake). The products were developed using insights from 300 mothers, who have the biggest influence on the dietary habits of the entire family. “The purchasing of grocery items for the household is 80% of the time decided by the mother,”, says Gladful.

A serving of a Gladful product provides around 25% of a child’s recommended daily protein intake, depending on the type of product and the age of the child. The chilla mixes are the highest in protein, delivering 6-8g per pancake. The protein comes mainly from sprouted grains, whey, legumes, millet, nuts and seeds, which means that the products are also high in fibre.

According to Parul Sharma, 73-80% of India’s population is deficient in protein – mostly because a traditional Indian diet tends to be carbohydrate-heavy. Many also adhere to a vegetarian diet with few protein-rich foods. This, coupled with inadequate awareness of protein and benefits for health, means that India is one of the most protein-deficient countries in the world. As a result, 35% of children in India are stunted, according to UNICEF.

Gladful is a brand whose purpose is to make a genuine difference to childrens' health. The brand calls itself “your family’s protein partner” and its website features in-depth information about the importance of protein and how a deficiency can affect children. Gladful’s social media channels are dedicated to showcasing the products protein content and how it can help people of all ages perform – and feel – better.

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