Pack­aged Whole Wheat Flour (Atta)

Look­ing for the chaff in 10 pop­u­lar brands

Consumer Voice - - Contents - ACon­sumerVoiceRe­port

While the wheat flour (atta) mar­ket in In­dia is still largely dom­i­nated by lo­cal chakki mills, branded and pack­aged wheat flour is gain­ing in pop­u­lar­ity and mar­ket share. The in­tro­duc­tion of new prod­uct vari­ants such as multi­grain atta and for­ti­fied atta bears tes­ti­mony to this. What com­pa­nies are cap­i­tal­is­ing on are nu­tri­tion, hy­giene and con­ve­nience fac­tors—in­creas­ingly im­por­tant for more and more con­sumers, es­pe­cially in ur­ban lo­ca­tions. The wheat flour in­dus­try in In­dia is worth more than Rs 15,000 crore, and is in­un­dated with na­tional, re­gional and pri­vate­la­bel brands. So, how is one to dif­fer­en­ti­ate one brand from another, and on what ba­sis? Can we tell be­tween brands on the ba­sis of how much of the es­sen­tial nutri­ents (pro­tein, car­bo­hy­drate, di­etary fi­bre, etc.) they pro­vide? What do the na­tional reg­u­la­tory stan­dards re­quire of wheat flour brands? And do all brands con­form to qual­ity and ac­cept­abil­ity pa­ram­e­ters? What about mi­cro­bi­o­log­i­cal con­tam­i­na­tion? The fol­low­ing re­port on 10 lead­ing brands of wheat flour will clar­ify all these var­i­ous as­pects on the ba­sis of the test find­ings. The pres­ence of cer­tain amounts of bac­te­ria is a mat­ter of con­cern but in the ab­sence of na­tional stan­dards for mi­cro­bi­o­log­i­cal pa­ram­e­ters, we will have to await some steps in this di­rec­tion for clar­ity and con­sen­sus.

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