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 private- label 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.
As per our standard procedure, we undertook market research to identify the popular and regular-selling brands of packaged whole wheat flour (atta) across the country. All the 10 brands selected for testing were evaluated and graded as per their overall performance based on the comprehensive laboratory results. The grading has been done based on the international grading system.
The tests were conducted at an NABL- accredited laboratory and as per requirements specified in Indian Standard IS: 1155, Agmark and Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Regulations.
- Nature Fresh
- Shakti Bhog
- Kendriya Bhandar
- Calorific value
- Dietary fibre
- Crude fibre
- Total ash
- Presence of lead
- Aflatoxins and pesticide residues
- Microbiological contamination (E. coli, coliform count, yeast and mould count)