Tapping into the growing demand for 'ready-to-eat' food in India as well as abroad, a number of small and medium sized enterprises from Kerala have forayed into the market and are gearing up to compete with multi-national companies. This was evident from a variety of products showcased at the Business-to-Business Meet organised here by the state's Department of Industries and Commerce. Products promoted as being healthy and free of chemical additives gained particular attention. The items range from frozen and non-frozen Indian curries, snacks including samosas, rolls cutlets to ethnic Kerala products like 'Kozhukatta' (sweet rice dumpling), 'Ela Ada' (steamed flat dumpling) and 'Parippu Vada' (Lentil fritter), sweets and instant mixes. Around 200 SMEs from across Kerala and some 490 buyers from India and abroad are taking part in the B2B Meet, being held from February 4-6 at the CIAL Trade Fair & Exhibition Centre at Nedumbassery. The largest representation is from the state's food processing industry with 80 exhibitors. "It is often a misconception that we have to sacrifice taste for healthy foods," said N P Rafeeque, Director of Jhivras, a company that specialises in food and snacks made of nutritive ingredients. "We offer a wide range of popular snacks which have nutrient content higher with the same taste quotient," he said. Natural fruit jams, appetisers, juices and pickles were also on display. Bottled tender coconut water and soft drinks with ethnic Kerala flavours were in great demand. "Tender coconut water, which has high nutritional value, is always popular. We preserve it with bio-enzymes and do not add any chemicals. It can be preserved for up to seven months at normal room temperature," said Sathish T, Managing Director, Sip-O-Nut, which manufactures packaged drinks.