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OILS AND FATS

Ruchi Soya to expand edible oil fortification initiative, curb malnutrition
Monday, 30 January, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, Mumbai
Ruchi Soya Industries Limited, India’s leading agri and food fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) company, will expand its edible oil fortification initiative and play a role in curbing malnutrition in India.

The company has been voluntarily fortifying its leading edible oil brands - Mahakosh, Sunrich and Nutrela - with Vitamin A and D since 2014, cumulatively impacting 12 million consumers every month across the country.

Announcing an expansion of its edible oil initiative, the company informed that it will benefit 15 million households every month by 2018 with fortified edible oils.

Moreover, the company also has plans to include Ruchi Gold, reckoned amongst the market leaders and the largest-selling refined palm oil brand across the country, in its fortification programme in the near future.

The proposed move is likely to have huge benefits as Ruchi Gold caters to over 20 million households per month, including consumers in the low income group.

Dinesh Shahra, managing director, Ruchi Soya Industries, said, “Sinceedible oil use is nearly universal in India, fortifying oil with essential vitamins A and D creates an opportunity to reach all income groups with minimal changes in eating habits.”

“Hence, we at Ruchi Soya took a pioneering voluntary step about two years ago to fortify our leading edible oil brands - Mahakosh, Sunrich and Nutrela - with Vitamin A and D,” he added.

“We are now happy to announce the expansion of our fortification initiative which will benefit more and more consumers, especially the low income group households, and play a role in combating the malice of malnutrition in the country,” Shahra said.

“It is only recently that the FSSAI has released draft standards for fortification of edible oil along with other items, but Ruchi Soya has been voluntarily fortifyingfour of its key edible oil brands since 2014, thereby positively impacting 12 million households every month,” stated Satendra Aggarwal, chief operating officer, Ruchi Soya Industries.

“The company has been also taking efforts to communicate the importance of fortification to its consumers and will continue to do so,” he added.

For the purpose of fortification of edible oils, Ruchi Soya has been collaborating with leading global organisations like the Centre for Community Economics and Development Consultants Society (CECOEDECON) and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN).

Fortification means deliberately increasing the content of essential micronutrients in food to improve its quality.

Micronutrient malnutrition has been a persistent problem in India, and as the recent data suggests, micronutrient malnutrition is reaching its peak in the present century.

The intake of micronutrients in daily diet is far from satisfactory, and largely less than 50 per cent of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is consumed by over 70 per cent of the Indian population.

The loss due to micronutrient deficiency costs India one percent of its gross domestic product (GDP).

This amounts to a loss of Rs. 27,720 crore per annum in terms of productivity, illness, increased health care costs and death.

Every day, more than 6,000 children below the age of five die in India. Fifty per cent of the deaths are due to malnutrition (mainly the lack of Vitamin A, iron, iodine, zinc and folic acid).

About 57 per cent of pre-schoolers and their mothers have sub-clinical Vitamin A deficiency.

Anaemia prevalence among children under five years is 69 per cent, and among women it is over 55 per cent in a recently concluded national study.

The consequences of micronutrient malnutrition are unacceptably high morbidity and mortality.
 
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