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The battle of the Oats! Part one: Horlicks vs Saffola

Saturday, March 15, 2014

/ by Srikanth Eswaran
Today I'm here to let you know a little bit about Oats (or oat grains) which we consume in plenty these days. The history of Oats dates back to 2000 B.C (ok, so that's enough of believeable history behind it). Oats not only provide energy but also have all the essential nutrients that the body needs as specified below

**[Source](http://http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=54)**



What is interesting about Oats is that it can make different type of meals today including idlis, oat grain cereal, with milk, upma, and the likes. Only your imagination is left to where you can go with oats based meal preparations.

Some of the essential benefits of oats include:

* Lower cholestrol levels
* Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
* Prevention of heart failure
* Cardiovascular benefits for postmenopausal women
* Enhance immune response to infection
* Stabilize blood sugar
* Substantial lowering of type - 2 diabetes
* Protection from Breast cancer
* Childhood asthma prevention
* and many more ....

Naturally this is a market that both Marico (owners of Saffola) and GSK (owners of horlicks) wanted to exploit in India. Here we compare Oats from both manufacturers.

A little bit on taste. This is the single largest reason why people will like or dislike oats in this country. Irrespective of whether or not we are used to all other types of food or are diet conscious, if the oats don't taste good, they will find their place in the dustbin. And Oats are supposedly very bland. Extremely bland so to say. For some (maybe like me) it also induces a nauseous feeling enough to pack it out of the house.

In this wavelength both Horlicks and Saffola have tried to make oats taste better by including lots of varieties such as Southern spice or Masala, or curry and pepper, etc. We do have some others such as raising and kesar, etc but lets stick to the topic.



A brief inspection of what the materials contain revelaed the following:

> Horlicks

* ginger powder
* red chilli powder (hell, yeah!)
* onion powder and asoefatida
* tomato and wheat flour ingridients
* vegetable protein (processed or whatever)
* nature identical (but unnatural) coloring and flavoring substances and acidity regulators

And our king of king substance - sugar! This has about 2.38 grams of sugar per 100g of pouch, but the pouch I used was 28g net weight, so we can say negligible amount of sugar.

> Saffola

* 72% oats (yea, what about the remaining 28%? :) )
* [maltodextrin](http://http://voices.yahoo.com/what-maltodextrin-bad-you-9054329.html)
* 5% cashew nuts (obvious this is the pongal variety)
* Salt and Sugar
* Hydrolized vegetable protein
* Wheat flour and the rest same as horlicks.

And for the sugar each 100g had 3.2 grams of sugar. I used the 40g pouch so roughly less than half of that amount of sugar.

> Preparation

Simple - put the oats in bowl, add water enough to hold in the pouch (packaging) - heat for 3 mins in oven while stirring. Do not let the oats to spill out. That's all.

> The verdict

Alright, technical jargon aside, shall we come to what matters to us after the diet stuff? - The taste of course!

> If you want it in one single statement - The Horlicks was sent to the dustbin, and the Saffola was sent to my stomach.

A litte more in depth - horlicks lacks any kind of proper taste in spite of adding so many substances and it still remains very bland and almost inedible beyond a point. It tends to get pasty and linger on in the mouth presenting a sticky layer which causes discomfort in terms of taste.

Saffola have managed to pull off an impossible taste for their Oat meal. The curry and pepper that I tried was almost close to Tamilnadu style pongal made a bit spicy with black pepper. So much so that it leaves an absolute tingling sensation that black pepper does until the end of the meal. Eating it really piping hot makes the experience only so much more dramatic.

Horlicks would be liked by many people as well, but for me any oat meal makers challenge is to provide taste without compromising on the materials being added to null and void the oat benefits.

In our next series we pitch Quaker oats with Brittania to see how they perform.
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