24 Mantra Organic Breakfast Cereal
The 24 Mantra organic range of products was launched by Sresta Foods a decade ago and offers a basket of products. This review focuses on the company’s breakfast cereals.
Demystifying the ingredients list
Variants: Ragi flakes, corn flakes, multi-grain flakes, honey stars and mango stars
- The brand name clearly states that all ingredients, mainly a combination of grains like wheat, jowar and rice, are organic.
- Most variants also have additional ingredients like the amaranth (rajgira, ramdana, keerai vidai) grain.
- The rice is hand pounded and not polished, making it a better source of nutrients, especially fibre.
- Sugar is present in all the cereals, and the level is higher in the honey and mango star variants, as may be expected.
- The flavours in the honey and mango variants are natural — sourced from honey and organic mango.
- The products have a significant quantity of whole grains, which is reflected in the higher dietary fibre content.
The cereal flakes are smaller in size compared to other brands, and the corn, multi-grain, and ragi flakes are not very sweet in milk. But this gives you the flexibility to control the amount and type of sugar (honey, unrefined, etc.) you want to add. The ragi flakes are light brown in colour and give the impression of added chocolate. Considering that we also eat with our eyes, it could be a good variant
to introduce to children.
What we found
Product Features across the range of products (manufacturer’s claim in italics):
- Organic: the brand’s USP
- With whole grains: the product uses cereals like jowar, ragi and wheat and since the fibre content is higher than other similar products in the market, this indicates that more of whole grain is used, versus refined.
- Rich in fibre: for any product to claim to be rich or high in fibre, it should have 6g of fibre per 100 grams of product. 24 Mantra’s variants, except honey and mango, meet this requirement. The latter two variants have close to 4g so they are a good source of fibre but not rich in fibre. Only breakfast cereals like all bran and muesli have higher fibre content (10g/100g), while the regular corn flakes and flavoured variants have only around 1.5 to 2 g/100g. So if you usually choose regular corn flakes or a sweet variant for your child, 24 Mantra is a better option, especially since fibre is a key nutrient lacking in children’s diet these days.
- Low in sodium: for a product to be low in sodium, it should have less than 120mg of sodium per 100g of the product. The corn flake variant of this product has 320mg of sodium per 100g of the product, so it cannot claim to be ‘low’ in sodium. However, the sodium level is much lower when compared to a similar variant of another leading brand (760mg/100g), so in relative terms, 24 Mantra does have lower sodium content. The other variants are similar to the corn variant (320mg) and the sodium level in the honey and mango variants is much lower (190mg).
- Nutrition rich Amaranth (present in all variants except ragi): Amarnath or ‘rajgira’ has higher iron and protein content compared to other cereal grains. In fact, the popped grain mixed with jaggery is made into laddus for midday meal programmes in North India. So this is a nice way to introduce these traditional grains in an interesting format for children!
Some variant-specific claims:
- Rich in calcium (specific to ragi): one serving offers a decent amount of calcium, and with milk, can be a calcium-powered breakfast for your child.
- Contains omega 3 fatty acids (corn variant): Flax seed is the source of omega 3 in this product. To be a good source of omega 3, the product should deliver around 200mg per serving and this delivers around 135mg. However, considering that children generally get insufficient omega 3, this contribution cannot be ignored.
- Goodness of honey or mango (honey/mango variant): the manufacturer claims to use real honey and organic mango in these variants, which will have more appeal for children.
Nutrition: All variants deliver around 100-110 calories per serving, without the addition of milk; but do remember that this breakfast is complete only when you add milk, which gives the child protein and
calcium for the morning meal. This range of breakfast cereal does not have the added vitamins and minerals that many other brands have; what is declared on the package is what is derived from the ingredients used — like iron from amaranth and omega 3 from the flax seed — so the level of vitamins B and C is lower. But if your child is eating a balanced diet, you need not be concerned about these numbers. In any case, your child should not be depending on breakfast cereal as her source of micronutrients!
Cost and availability
A 350 gram cereal box costs Rs.125; other comparative brands cost around Rs.145 for a 475 gram pack, while local cereals are available at a lower price. Yes, definitely more expensive than other brands, but
considering it is organic and has a cleaner ingredient list, if cereal is one of the breakfast items on your list, 24 Mantra Organic breakfast cereal is worth a try. This cereal brand is supposedly available across India, but your best bet is to check availability in a departmental store rather than the local grocer. Also do keep in mind that even in stores which stock this brand, the supply does not seem to be steady!
- For children who like breakfast cereal, this brand is definitely a good choice, especially the multi grain/ragi variants, which are high in fibre and lower in sugar. Having said that, breakfast cereal should only be one choice in the breakfast items we provide, as India already has a rich tradition of wholesome breakfast items to offer.