Towards improved nutrition: Challenges and future strategies

Webinar highlights the effective strategies to fight challenges like malnutrition through food fortification
Towards improved nutrition: Challenges and future strategies

Photo - Brooke Lark on Unsplash

The food processing committee of the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) organized a Webinar on 'Towards Improved Nutrition: Challenges and Future Strategies'. The objective of the webinar was brainstorming effective strategies to combat challenges like malnutrition through food fortification.

The chief guest for the webinar was Naveen Jain, IAS, Secretary, Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Government of Rajasthan. He highlighted the importance of food fortification and how food fortification has become an effective tool to combat the deficiencies of vitamins and minerals in our diet. He also stressed the effective distribution of fortified wheat to 4.4 crores of the population covered under NFSA and PMGKAY in Rajasthan. Rajasthan, being the biggest producer of millet, can play an integral role in eradicating malnutrition. He mentioned that the state government is keen to emphasize on fortification of staple food.

He further added, "One of the challenges is to figure out how to make iodized salt available with necessary minerals, and a full proof plan is required to help in the fortification of flour; on the other hand oil is doing great and has shown no issues whatsoever since all companies are adding the mandated levels of nutrition in them."

Photo - Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Dr C Vasudevappa, hon'ble vice-chancellor, NIFTEM, said, "There is a need for science-based fortification, and Scaling up of fortification must be the top priority of all the stakeholders." He highlighted that current government nutrition programs, especially those targeting children, are good avenues for implementing beneficial food fortification. However, despite the continued research and education on malnutrition, the bigger challenge, like malnutrition, still exists.

He further said, "India's average cereal consumption is 300 grams and the average oil consumption of 25 grams. Food fortification is creating an impact globally and it is our duty is to spread awareness about food nutrition and food fortification. Herbs & herb extracts play a vital role in food fortification and science has a major role to play in combating nutrition deficiency issues and aid food fortification as well."

Vikram Kelkar, managing director, delivered the presentation on 'Challenges and opportunities in nutraceutical industry with a focus on malnutrition and food fortification'. He also highlighted factors driving the growth of nutraceutical markets in India and urged for a better regulatory environment in fortification.

He further mentioned, "In the post covid scenario, there has been an upsurge in the demands for vitamin supplements, immunity-based products, and nutraceuticals, especially from youth. It has become extremely crucial to spread awareness about the importance food nutrition, food security as well as food fortification."

In his opening remarks, Digvijay Dhabriya, managing director, Dhabriya Plywood said that the fortification process has helped eliminate vitamin and mineral malnutrition in many developing nations. Fortification is a globally proven intervention to address the much prevalent micronutrient deficiencies in the population.

Deepti Gulati, Nutrition and Public Health Specialist, moderated the technical session, introducing all the eminent panelists.

Sheryl Salis, founder, Nurture Health solutions, emphasized improving the nutrition quality of diversified diets through fortified staples and nutraceuticals. She also added the importance of integrated diets for the elder as well as the young populace.

Dr Siddharth Waghulkar, deputy head, Nutrition and School Feeding Unit, World Food Programme – India, spoke about the importance of fortification of staples and processed food and why the Indian food sector should adopt it.

Dr Sirimavo Nair, Prof – Department of Foods and Nutrition, The M S University of Baroda, highlighted the role of the regulatory ecosystem in India and how it can help to upscale India's fortification.

Dr Sujeet Ranjan, Public Health and Nutrition Specialist, highlighted the synergy of public-private partnerships to reach better nutritional outcomes.

Vivek Arora, FFRC-FSSAI, expressed the Government's role in creating awareness in fortification.

The webinar was moderated by Dr Yogesh Srivastav, assistant secretary-General, PHDCCI, and Mallika Verma, who gave concluding remarks. Many industry stalwarts across the nation attended the webinar. PHDCCI's webinar was sponsored by Hexagon Nutrition and was supported by DLF India; Multani Pharmaceuticals; UFLEX; JK Tyre & Industries; Marble City; Paramount Cables; SMC Investments and Advisors; Blossom Kochhar Aroma Magic; Comtech Interio; DCM Shriram Industries; Radico Khaitan; R E ROGERS INDIA PVGT LTD; Ajit Industries; Synergy Environics; Timberworkz; Jindal Stainless; P S Bedi & Co; and IFFCO.

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