MO’s Superfoods & Kefir | Indie Eats
With a recent debut across Mumbai’s food festival circuit, MO’s Superfoods has found an audience with their unique offering of kefir. The drink is marketed as a healthy option meant to be good for your gut. Its understated flavour and smooth, nearly thick texture only add to its versatile appeal. We spoke to Moina Oberoi, who founded the company to know more about the venture.
Give us a broad overview of MO’s Superfoods.
MO’s Superfoods is a probiotic foods start-up based in Mumbai. Our aim is to create health supportive food products within the fermented food space, as we are obsessed with “gut health”. Fermented foods take care of that while enhancing the taste of many foods. Our primary product is called MO’s Kefir, making us the first kefir producers in India. Kefir is a popular probiotic yoghurt drink from Eastern Europe. We are currently expanding our kefir product range with flavours like Honey Vanilla and Mango Palm Sugar as well as developing new fermented food products.
What made you introduce kefir to the Mumbai market?
I discovered kefir while living in America. I had been struggling with muscle inflammation and nerve problems for over a decade. Within weeks of incorporating kefir and other fermented foods into my lifestyle, I was pain-free and full of energy for the first time in years.
On moving back to India I realised I couldn’t do without kefir, so I started to make it at home for myself. The kefir culture tends to multiple, so by the end of the month I ended up with so much I decided to bottle it, take some pretty pictures, put it on Facebook and see what happens. There was no turning back from there.
Who do you consider your target audience?
Everyone! Parents wanting to feed their children wholesome food, fitness enthusiasts, yoga buffs, professionals with busy schedules, people with slow metabolisms or weak immune systems; in fact people with almost any health issue as kefir responds to a variety of health problems.
Genetically speaking, we are approximately 10 parts microbes and 1 part human. By adding more good bacteria to your gut through kefir we are enriching the microbes in our body and resolving microscopic issues.
Are you self-taught or do you have specific training?
A bit of both. For many years I have worked at restaurants, food certification, wine retails and organic food companies in San Francisco, New York, Goa, and Mumbai. I later trained in Ayurvedic cuisine, macrobiotic cooking, healing foods, sustainable farming and Japanese cuisine at a culinary school called The Natural Gourmet Institute in New York and also completed a Gastronomy Diploma from Le Cordon Blue & The University of Reims, France. It was interesting to take that knowledge and apply it back on the field giving my practical experience a new perspective.
Do you work outside of MO’s superfoods as well, or does it take up all your time and energy?
I am a consultant chef specialising in projects within the wellness or clean food space. I recently consulted for a restaurant called 212 All Good by Bellona Hospitality that is motivated by food that is not only comforting but also good for the gut! I love that there has been a small shift in the restaurant space in India where individuals and companies are willing to take the leap towards a more holistic menu.
However, since we launched MO’s Superfoods in November 2016 it has been like having a baby that cannot be ignored!
What’s your favourite thing to make?
Inside MO’s Superfoods it is all about fermentation. Currently all our focus is on perfecting kefir and its flavours. Outside of MO’s Superfoods my favourite thing to make is Maki Rolls, as I find them therapeutic to put together.
Is MO’s superfoods home-based or do you operate from a separate space?
MO’s Superfoods started off from my parent’s kitchen and my dad’s bar fridge, which he was not too pleased about. After a barebones pilot run for a few months, I decided to go all in and set up a dairy production unit. We have a small manufacturing plant in Lower Parel where all the magic happens.
What do you expect to evolve into in terms of a business?
We plan to be available at all metros in India soon. I would love to see kefir in every Indian’s diet. Currently, our local diet is devoid of quality fermented foods and fibre, causing us stomach problems, diabetes, cardiovascular issues and compromised immune systems. The plan for MO’s Superfoods is to fill this void by providing delicious probiotic-rich foods and beverages to the market.
Where do you get your ingredients from? Are they imported or from different parts of India?
Our milk is from a dairy farm in Nasik while the kefir culture is from Italy. As for the flavours we mostly source our ingredients locally. Our focus is to find local suppliers and keep the products natural and free from processed ingredients.
Which kefir do you recommend to most first-timers?
It would depend on your personal preference. If you have a sweet tooth, Honey Vanilla is your man. Mango Palm Sugar works for the mango junkies, while the Plain kefir is ideal for people who watch their sugar or like to be hands-on and use it as an ingredient. It goes great with fresh fruit, cereal, oats and even as a chaas. However, it can even be used in smoothies, as a salad dressing, and dips or soups.
What’s the best way to tell good milk from bad?
Always use your nose. Milk has a very distinct smell when it turns bad. When you ferment milk to make it yoghurt with cultures like kefir, it can have a mild yeast-like tarty smell, which is quite contrary to bad milk.
To know more about or order Kefir, visit the MO’s Superfoods website.
Would you try kefir? What flavour would you taste first?