Fresh, organic and local; Mommy’s Health Kitchen is for everyone

When Minka Sikka Got News Of A Little One Coming Her Way In 2016, She Knew That Her Diet Needed A Healthy Rejig. That Was Also The Birth Of Mommy’s Health Kitchen…

He’s only just figured how to string long sentences together, but five-year-old Arjan’s most telling contribution came long before he opened a book for the first time, and his mother Minka refuses to deny him the credit. Minka and her husband Gaurav Sikka are now parents to two boys, but in reminiscing how Mommy’s Health Kitchen came out four years ago, she tells us that it was her elder one Arjan that laid the foundations for her business even before they knew what he looked like.

“Growing up, my family was very healthy with our food choices. We led a simple lifestyle when it came to food, like most Indian families. But when I went to University, I lost track of that. Then, in 2016, when I got pregnant with my first child, I started rethinking my food choices. I knew I couldn’t have a lot of the things I used to, and it became a big transition period for me.”

Minka spent a lot of time in front of her laptop and with books that told her how healthy eating was imperative not only for a pregnant mother, but also for every single person. Reading about how food choices have changed over the years, saw the birth of Mommy’s Health Kitchen.

“I was concerned about it, and I did a lot of research. I started evaluating what I’m putting in, and when my first child was born, I had read a lot and was particular about what I eat. My husband is in the F&B industry, so it was easy for me to set up because we had certain standards in place. I started by making things for myself, then my child, and that’s why it’s named Mommy’s Health Kitchen.”

With the help of her husband, Minka then took part in events where the response to her products was immense. “My husband enrolled me for the LBB Dessert Bazaar, and once that happened, there was no turning back. This was in 2016, and at that point, there were very few people doing what I did. I went back to the basics – ragi, whole wheat, honey, jaggery – and it really took off!”

While children and young adults were her target market, Minka says a collective push from her friends, customers and mothers helped get her product into many more spaces. “I started out by making things for children, and that’s how I reached where I have. I really believe in what I do and I do not ever compromise on quality. It did really well initially because I had a network of mothers who helped me in marketing it organically. I ended up working with a few of nurseries and made meal plans for toddlers and schools.”

At the outbreak of the pandemic, Minka realised that she had to widen her horizon and appeal to more people while staying true to her standards and quality. “When the pandemic happened, I realised that we had to make things that were easy to prepare. A lot of people said that I could reach a much wider audience with things that were not necessarily healthy, but I want healthy eating to reach that audience. The aim is to get as many people to live a cleaner lifestyle.”

In 2016, Mommy’s Health Kitchen found it tough to source organic products, but Minka says there is a very evident change in trend over the last half-decade. “Fresh sauces, fresh easy bread and other products do not compromise on the clean eating principle. I feel deeply about this concept, and I want to make sure it stays the way it is. We had to grow our brand to reach out to a wider audience who are much more aware about nutrition but organic suppliers were so tough to find back then. Now they’re everywhere, and it really helps.”

Minka truly believes that a lot of people who used to be mindful of their eating habits have found it tough to keep it up during the pandemic. And Mommy’s Health Kitchen offers quick solutions. “A lot of people don’t have time to head to the kitchen and make a meal for themselves in the current situation. Preparing food from scratch is tough and for those who are spending most of their time in front of their laptops, making healthy meals isn’t an option. Working from home cannot mean you compromise on your nutrition, and we want to make it easier to balance both.”

With her brand taking off quickly, club captain Sunil Chhetri celebrated his birthday with a vegan chocolate cake from Minka’s kitchen, something she says helped give her brand an almighty push.

“Positive feedback is amazing for a small business. It makes everything much more worth, when people respond in a positive manner and say nice things. I was so happy when Sonam messaged me and asked about a cake for Sunil, and a lot of people have since ordered that one too. A lot of work goes into setting up a small business, and it’s very gratifying when someone appreciates it and spreads word.”

And it isn’t just about her brand. Minka says that buying from Mommy’s Health Kitchen directly impacts the sustenance of small businesses other than hers, where she looks to procure her ingredients and more from.

“There’s so much more to what we do. All the ingredients we use are locally sourced, and there is a community of small businesses, farmers and others who we get our raw materials from. Mommy’s Health Kitchen is proudly Bangalorean, and we love that. Buying a product from us not only promotes us as a brand, but also helps support those smaller businesses. I’m really looking forward to introducing more products, collaborating with other people and businesses who share the same vision as us, and it’s very exciting for me!”

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