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Multi-millet ready-to-eat extruded snacks - flakes, murukus and bhujia
Thursday, 10 September, 2020, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Shital Nagre
Introduction
Millets are a group of highly variable small-seeded grasses, widely grown around the world as cereal crops or grains for fodder and human food. Some examples of millets are Sorghum, Amaranth, Finger millet, Kode millet, Foxtail millet, Pearl millet and Little millet. Majorly cultivated in the semi-arid tropical regions of Africa and Asia, around 97% of world’s millet production is done in these regions.
Nutrient content of millets
Millets are also known as nutri-cereals as they are nutrient-dense. Millets are non-allergic and gluten-free. Millets are the rich source of carbohydrate, moderate source of protein, fibre-rich, vitamin- and mineral-rich. Millets content minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, copper, phosphorous, manganese.
Increasing number of NCD population, people are realising and focussing on healthy diet and it includes millets that are more important.
Health benefits of Millets
-Help to protect against heart diseases.
-Lower bad cholesterol.
-Beneficial in detoxifying body.
-Helpful for diabetic patients
-Effective in reducing blood pressure.
-Reduce risk of gastrointestinal condition like gastric ulcer and colon cancer.
-Help to optimise kidney, liver and immune system.
-Help to prevent nutrient deficiencies.
- Eliminate problems like constipation, excess gas, bloating and cramping.
-Millets contribute to antioxidant activity with phytates, polyphenols, tannins, anthocyanins, phytosterols present in it having important role in ageing and metabolic diseases.

Due to health benefits of millets, it has made industry do research and use this super food. So the innovation starts by the food industry. One of the food processing methods is extrusion. It is a process by which a set of mixed ingredients are forced through an opening in a perforated plate or die with a design-specific size by blades.
Extrusion enables mass production of food via a continuous, efficient system that ensures uniformity of the final product. Food products manufactured using extrusion usually have high starch content. These include some pasta, cereal flakes, ready-to-eat snacks, confectionery, some baby foods, full fat soy, texture vegetable protein. Texturised products include meat analogues, which are made using plant proteins and a long die to impart a fibrous, meat like structure to the extrude.
Extruded snacks Factors driving the growth of Asia-Pacific market include the increasing adoption of the Western culture in the region, growing disposable income, and in the go snacking trend among the urban population due to busy lifestyles.

Multi-millet ready-to-eat extruded snacks are millet flakes, extruded millet-cereal-pulse snacks, murukus, bhujia, biscuits, cookies and tortilla chips.
Breakfast cereals are gaining popularity among the health-conscious populations; however, the traditional processes have seldom been used for millet which could even enhance nutritional quality of RTEs. Extrusion processing lowers the anti-nutrients and enhances digestibility of proteins and starches, therefore, it is well suited for the millets. Extruded millets due to their lower fat content can be promoted as healthy snacks/ health food. Multigrain snacks can be either baked or fried. In extrusion process, the starches partially take less time and are convenient to cook.
Extruded snacks are now available in different shapes, sizes, flavours.
Millets are commonly available in our market. By knowing the health benefits, more efforts should be made for their popularity among society, which will lead to more crop production of local super food and eradication of malnutrition among the population.
(The author is dietitian, Health Department, Government of Maharashtra. She can be contacted at shitalchole@gmail.com)
 
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