We had the good fortune of connecting with Abha Ahuja and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Abha, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Well first of all, I am truly flattered that someone would say that we have achieved success or that Metta Gluten Free flour is successful. I have always struggled with this word “success” and what it means to me. I’m at a point in the business and in life that I’ve decided to redefine what success looks like for me as well for the brand. In my mind, I go back to what my intention was when I created this flour blend and honestly the answer has always been to provide a high quality, easy to use, nutritious, (as much as possible) an allergen-friendly, and a great tasting gluten free flour that makes moist and delicious goods just like the “gluten-full” counterparts, particularly flatbreads like chapatis (Indian) and tortillas. And when I get positive feedback from customers who tell me the flour makes the best tasting moist and tender gluten free baked goods and flatbreads they’ve ever had, and that they themselves, their child, or their family member can finally enjoy eating traditional food again, means success to me. That is the most rewarding to me. To that end, I would say my passion, years of perseverance, and courage to create something new and different are some of the important factors behind the success if one was to call it that. Another important factor in any business is having patience. This is our 4th year in business and although Metta Gluten Free flour has definitely grown in the DFW metroplex, we are still working on growing its reach in the rest of Texas and beyond.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?

Metta Gluten Free flour was inspired by my son who was diagnosed with gluten-sensitivity about 8 years ago. This meant no more wheat based Indian flatbreads like chapatis/rotis (or tortillas), which are a staple in North Indian cuisine. We tried all different kinds of gluten free flatbreads or tortillas and gluten free flours we could find in retail stores and online, but the taste and texture did not satisfy our palates. They were all tasteless, dry, and brittle, plus they contained other allergens like corn, soy, dairy, eggs, etc. As a personal challenge, I started experimenting with lots of gluten free flours to mimic the familiar taste and texture of the traditional flatbreads that are also soft and pliable. Our current Metta gluten free flour blend was developed after years of trial and error, especially for mass production.

For the first few years, I only sold the ready-made gluten free tortillas or rotis at local farmer’s markets. I quickly realized that there was a need for a healthy allergen-friendly gluten free flour, especially within the Indian community. There wasn’t and still isn’t, as far as I am aware, a high-quality and safe (in terms of being produced in a dedicated gluten-free facility) gluten-free flour that provides the same traditional taste and texture. We launched the flour in Fall of 2019. Once the flour made it into the hands (and kitchens) of our growing non-Indian customer base, we realized that the flour is also great for other things like pancakes, cookies, muffins, cakes, and so much more. Since then, we’ve been able to list over 90 tried and tested recipes through customer and blogger engagement on our website. What makes Metta Gluten Free flour different from many other gluten free flours out there is that it contains several ancient whole grains and seeds like sorghum, teff, and flaxseed. In addition, Metta Gluten Free flour is a 1:1 replacement for whole wheat flour with a very similar taste and texture.

The road has definitely been rough along the way. Developing the flour blend was the easiest part because it was something I was creating for my family. The biggest challenge has been and continues to be how to run a business and that too a business involving a specialty food product. All of it is so completely different from my educational and professional background. I have learned so much and still have so much to learn when it comes to topics like product development, sales, marketing, communications, digital advertising, etc. The scope and depth of learning is endless.

We have a small, but very loyal, customer base that consistently tells us Metta gluten-free flour is far superior in quality, taste, and ease of use for all kinds of Indian and non-Indian cooking and baking! Please feel free to check out our reviews here https://mettaatta.com/product/reviews/ along with close to 100 recipes and that list is constantly growing https://mettaatta.com/recipes/

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.

This is such a unique question. I think it would largely depend on the friend’s own interests because Dallas has a lot to offer, plus it would depend on the time of the year. Since the family and I are nature lovers, we would definitely visit the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. Another day could be spent exploring and walking picturesque trails of white rock lake of Dallas. A little farther in Fort Worth, but we also love visiting the Japanese Garden, especially in the Spring. If my friend was a museum goer, we’d definitely visit the Perot Museum of Nature and Science and even the Dallas Museum of Art. The thing I’ve never done since moving to Dallas 10 years ago is visit the Reunion Tower. I would find a way to get that on our to-do-list. I would love to dine at the revolving restaurant in the Tower with 360-degree views over Dallas. I also enjoy walking around and exploring Bishop Arts District and Deep Ellum areas of Dallas, which have their own unique character. These areas have a very urban feel to them with quirky art galleries, shops, street murals, and buzzing pubs and restaurants, some even have live music.

In terms of food and dining, since I’m a vegan, a meal at Spiral Diner in Denton or Dallas is a must. It’s the best place for some vegan desserts and food. They do need to improve their gluten-free offerings though. As a family, we like the vibe and energy of Legacy Hall in Plano with its great variety of offerings on food and great live music scene particularly on Friday nights. Another one of our favorite restaurants in Dallas is Lalibela Ethiopian restaurant because we love injera, the Ethiopian flatbread. The owner of the restaurant can make gluten free injera for my son and husband if we let her know in advance of our visit. Plus, they make the best vegan Ethiopian vegetable and lentil dishes. Another good place to eat with vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free options is the Kalachandji restaurant, which happens to be Dallas’ longest serving vegetarian restaurant, inside of the Hare Krishna Temple in Dallas. In the winter months, we enjoy going to King Spa, a traditional Korean spa, which has multiple healing sauna rooms and massages. Our boys especially enjoy the indoor waterpark with water pressured massage spa machines. King Spa also has a movie theater and a Korean restaurant with enough gluten-free and vegan options that we can all have a warm meal there. We usually end up making a full day of it and bask in the relaxation.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
What a great question! Actually I would like to dedicate this shoutout to a few people in my life. First of all, to my oldest son, who was the inspiration behind me creating this flour blend. I have learned and grown so much because of him. I have learned to be more kind, compassionate, and patient because of his presence in my life. Secondly, my husband who has supported me emotionally, mentally, and financially throughout. In my darkest times, he holds me up with his strength, mentally speaking of course, encouragement, and optimism. Thirdly, I would like to send out a dedication to my mother who for as long as I can remember has been my biggest fan and supporter, and has loved me unconditionally. Also, there are so many local entrepreneurs I’ve come across in the last few years who have helped and provided guidance along the way, it’s been amazing and they’ve been inspirational and empowering! Some of them have become good friends. I feel so fortunate and blessed. Finally, I would like to thank the customers of Metta Gluten Free flour. They have kept me going, despite the endless challenges of trying to grow a specialty product business, via their positive reviews and appreciation for creating Metta Gluten Free flour. My full and complete gratitude for their loyalty and trust.

Website: www.MettaGlutenFreeFlour.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mettaglutenfree/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MettaGlutenFree

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mettaglutenfree

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCl8bwsibl1OTig90CKbyybw

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