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In Conversation With Soham Patel Of MissionRoot

Nirmala Garimella
09/25/2012

The next time you step into Whole Foods market to shop for groceries, you may do well to pick up a bottle of Mission Root flavored beverage, an Ayurvedic drink that has hit the stores this week and making a buzz for the more discerning health food lovers. Infused with nutrient herbs, the drink comes in three flavors that many of you may have grown up in your grandmother’s backyard in India – Tulsi, Amla, and Hibiscus.

The brainchild behind this idea is Cambridge based Indian American Entrepreneur Soham Patel along with Chef and Co-creator Barr Hogen and inspired by Soham’s mother, a Sanskrit scholar and Indian classical dancer. Says Soham, “While I was growing up in Chicago, I kept away from spices and Indian food from my mother’s kitchen. It was only after I went to college that I started appreciating all that is the best of Indian spices and the vast heritage of India.” Mission Root is all about that. It is a way of introducing the best of India (Ayurveda) to America”.

Soham graduated Magna cum Laude from DePaul University, 2005. He spent 5 years in the retail and consumer products industry in business development, consulting, and operations roles before joining Babson's full-time MBA program in 2010. While at Babson as part of his business course he presented the idea at a ‘Youth Trade’ Conference sponsored by Whole Foods along with other entrepreneurs. Whole Foods were very impressed with what he presented but taking it to the next level required a totally new approach. That was whereYouth Trade, a division of YES stepped in. Poonam Ahluwalia, President at YES, who started this initiative says,” Soham  is an extraordinary bright man and his idea had so much potential that we took it on to hone it, utilizing resources and ideas to make it presentable to Whole Foods. Youth Trade is proud of him. Whole Foods is a remarkable company. They believe in building communities, inviting Youth Trade to all its events.It has been a great partnership for us”

So where does the name Mission Root come from? According to Soham, the name ‘Mission’ is from two levels. Embracing Indian Heritage and bringing it to America and  donating 5% of the proceeds to Akshaya Patra, a non profit focused on food for education. The ‘Root’ comes from the ingredients used in the beverage – ginger and agave. It took him twelve months to bring the beverage to the market, working with Chef Barr to bring out the taste and flavor.” According to Soham, it is a drink for anytime of the day, with a refreshing good taste.

All three of MissionRoot’s launch flavors contain fresh-pressed ginger root, a cornerstone of Ayurvedic practice and standby in Indian kitchens around the world. This super root is believed to promote good digestion and increase absorption of nutrients to body tissues. Ginger root is considered antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immune boosting.

Flavors:

Tulsi
Often referred to as Holy Basil, Tulsi is used in Ayurvedic healing to promote purity and lightness in the body. Tulsi cleanses the respiratory system of toxins and relieves digestive pressure. It is used as a treatment for colds and coughs. Essential oils found in Tulsi leaves have strong antiseptic qualities.

Amla
The Sanskrit “Amla” translates to Indian gooseberry and contains bioflavonoids, flavones, polyphenols and carotenoids. It’s also a rich source of Vitamin C.

Hibiscus
The botanic Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is valuable in Ayurvedic practice for its soothing effect. Hibiscus is also used to remedy cough, to fight the common cold and to prevent high blood pressure and liver disorder.

Background on Ayurveda:

Practiced for more than 5,000 years, the healing system Ayurveda is designed to stimulate, rejuvenate and repair the mind and body. The Sanskrit term “Ayurveda” means “the knowledge for long life” and embodies the core principles of yoga, meditation, balanced diet and lifestyle.

Just as Ayurveda is practiced in Indian households, MissionRoot is not designed to be medicinal, but to be a healthful addition to everyday life.

Mission Root is available at 20 Whole Food stores in Massachusetts.

Check out more at http://www.missionroot.com/#!home/mainPage.



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