BY SAMIRA SOOD
One of the nicest things about Slurrp Farm is the people we have got to know along the way. One of them is someone we have never actually met, but who, as our mom ambassador to Mizoram, is very much a part of the Slurrp Farm family.
Zomawii Khiangte is 39 years old, owns a brewery in Aizawl with her husband, and has three kids – two girls (aged 11 and 3) and a boy (aged 4). And a little over a year ago, she decided, on her own, to champion Slurrp Farm in Mizoram. She began to list our products in stores, and along the way, has even put together photoshoots and TV commercials for the brand, like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
Through her efforts, and through organic word-of-mouth publicity, Slurrp Farm has gained a fan following in Mizoram, particularly the strawberry, banana, and mango cereals for little ones, and now, the pancake and cake mixes, too.
We spoke to Zomawii about her journey as a self-declared Slurrp Farmer, her favourite Slurrp Farm products, what it was like to introduce a millet-based brand in a region that doesn’t really have these grains in its diet, and more.
It all started about two years ago, when she began to look online for healthy food options she could order for her kids. She was sick and tired of the junk that was widely available in every shop and at every street corner and figured there had to be something better out there. She chanced upon Slurrp Farm, ordered the pancake mixes, and loved them. After a few months of regularly ordering the products, she felt they should be available in brick-and-mortar grocery stores around her – not just so she had easy access to them, but so that more parents were aware that there were these options for their kids.
“I thought, won’t it be cool if I can bring in a few products, distribute them myself? My kids eat Slurrp Farm anyway, plus thanks to my own business I knew some store owners, so I just decided to do it myself. I got in touch with Meghana and Shauravi (Slurrp Farm’s co-founders), had a long chat with them about my idea. They said, ‘Let’s start you off with a small quantity, and because I run a brewery, I already had the network, the staff, the channels, and the means to distribute. I started on social media, then got a few influencers, then I got a few store owners to push the products in their shops – now Slurrp Farm’s available in five or six shops here.”
How much does all of this help the mom ambassador financially? “Not much! My family laughs, but I’m not doing it for the profit. It’s just nice for me to have easier access to food that my kids regularly eat, plus other parents in my small city would have access to it. I just like to be an advocate for healthy food for kids. And I find Shauravi and Meghana very approachable – they were totally cool with letting me do all of this just my way, without batting an eyelid. Not many entrepreneurs would be so chill about it.”
“What’s great about Slurrp Farm food is the wholesomeness – it’s all whole grains, no maida, and at the same time, it’s tasty, so a kid would want to eat it. Plus the packaging is so happy and bright that a kid would want to pick up in stores,” she says.
Zomawii herself didn’t grow up being especially health-conscious. The Mizo-born brewer only became more particular about food when she had her first child. She worked for 10 years in consulting, in New York, which is where she did her undergrad as well, and that was also where she became a mother. Eventually, she says, “I got tired of corporate work, and there were family responsibilities back home in Aizawl. Childcare is also easier for her now because we live with my parents.” But, she recalls that as a new mother, living in new New York had many advantages when it came to food – “things like starch-free, sugar-free cereals, organic milk, were way more easily accessible than they were in India a decade ago. You know, I fed my older daughter brown rice only and for the longest time, she thought that was the only kind of rice there was.”
Now, back in India, Zomawii has had to train herself to be more relaxed. “You see, now I’m handling three kids, not just one, plus there’s so much more family and community around – my parents will give the kids some sugary treat, something I don’t really approve of, but it’s not always something I can control. But that’s why having a steady supply of Slurrp Farm products really helps.”
It’s not been easy, because millets, which is what Slurrp Farm is all about, aren’t a big part of the diet in the northeastern states. But, Zomawii says, “Slurrp Farm is also known for its zero-maida policy, and now people are a bit more conscious and conscientious about how maida is so bad for you. I’ve also had some really standout retailers – like, one store owner is a nurse, she really pushes the cereals, she sells it to cancer patients, for strength. And because the products have no maida, she can sell many of them to diabetics as well.”
In the beginning, she recalls, there was some buzz thanks to social media, but that fizzled out, which was when Zomawii turned to producing TV ads with the help of some tech-savvy youngsters. Cereals and pancakes started to pick up only about six months ago, that was roughly when retailers started getting double the number of orders. “And because baking really became a thing during the lockdown, the new cake mixes have started doing well too – good timing!”
Now, Zomawii says, grocery stores stock a lot more healthy, organic options than even two years ago. “Even in my small city of Aizawl, that change is slowly happening. Young moms who are aware, who are internet savvy, and who are keen to arm themselves with information about healthy options. We didn’t grow up like that but now, there is an interest.”
And personally speaking, what’s the mom ambassador’s favourite Slurrp Farm product? “The pancakes. And the fudgy choc brownie mix – my older daughter makes it herself and they’re so good! She bakes it at least once a week.”