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Nutritional profile of F&B cos vital to assess nutritional qty of foods
Thursday, 15 December, 2016, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Ashwani Maindola, New Delhi
The nutritional profile of food and beverage (F&B) companies is vital to assess the nutritional quality of the packaged food and beverage products.

This was stated by Pawan Kumar Agarwal, chief executive officer, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), during a panel discussion on the occasion of the launch of India Access to Nutrition Spotlight Index  by the Access to Nutrition Foundation, which also ranked the nine largest F&B companies in India on their contribution to tackle India’s double burden of malnutrition.  

“Product profiling adds real value to the index, because what the citizen gets is critical to him. The companies may have good corporate profiles, but if the product profile is not of a high nutritional value, it may not be very helpful (for the companies),” he added.

Agarwal said, “Our challenge would be to spread the message on nutritional value addition of product profile across the F&B sector.”

The nutritional profile is also done to assess the level of compliance of product labels with Indian nutrition content labelling regulation and Codex labeling guidelines.

Agarwal also added that the role of the government was to nudge the citizen to adopt good nutritional practices. Whether or not they do it is their choice.

At the same time, food business operators (FBOs) should also manufacture and supply nutritious food choices to the consumers.

The trend globally has been such that the available food and beverage products are not of high nutritional value.

This kind of product profiling basically nudges companies to provide nutritional food to the consumers as the government cannot directly intervene.

The report stated that the largest F&B manufacturers in India were falling far short of what they needed to do to help fight the enduring and mounting double burden of malnutrition in India.

The companies assessed including Mother Dairy, Amul, Britannia, Parle Products, Coca Cola, Pespsico, Mondelez India, Hindustan Uniliver and Nestle.
Mother Dairy led the product profile and Nestlé India led the corporate profile, while 12 per cent of the beverages sold by the index companies and 16 per cent of food products were found high on nutritional quality.

The report also called upon the Indian food industry to adopt and disclose their nutrition strategies and policies in line with those of Codex.

On the issue of disclosure, Agarwal said that FSSAI learnt from the global best practices. And as of now, the norms for disclosures are not part of the regulations.

There can be deliberations on how it would be helpful in generating interest amongst the consumers.

The report observed that the multinational corporations (MNCs) operating in India need to improve the nutritional quality of their portfolios.

It was also found that while most of the companies assessed were committed to combating malnutrition, they either don’t produce any or produce very few fortified packaged food.

The report recommended that the companies should add nutritional and healthier products under their portfolios. They should adopt policies to ensure affordability and accessibility of healthy and fortified food.

Inge Kauer, executive director, Access to Nutrition Foundation and Meetu Kapoor, executive director, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)-FACE, amongst others, were present.
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