World Food India attracts Rs.68000 Cr investments

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with (from left) Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan at the World Food India 2017 inaugural session in New Delhi on Friday. Photo: PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with (from left) Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan at the World Food India 2017 inaugural session in New Delhi on Friday. Photo: PTI
World Food India, spread across India Gate and Vigyan Bhawan, turning Lutyens’ Delhi into a traffic nightmare, started Friday morning with Prime Minister inviting investors to tap the “unlimited opportunities’’ in India’s  Soon after, top executives of global food and retail majors from to Coca-Cola and Amazon to Metro, along with domestic biggies such as and Patanjali, lined up to ink investment MoUs, totalling Rs 68,000 crore over multiple years.  


The MoUs, 13 of them, formalised the investments promised earlier by these companies. Others such as Nestle offered to help the government in food safety, while making a reference to the Maggi ban debacle in India two years ago.    
           
In investments, led the pack with a commitment worth Rs 13,340 crore, followed by rival Coca-Cola (Rs 11,000 crore). had earlier announced its plan to invest Rs 35,000 crore in India and the latest commitment is part of the total pie. Coca-Cola had in July announced an investment of Rs 11,000 crore, along with its partners, to boost its local agri ecosystem. Friday’s commitment is a reiteration of the same.


The Rs 10,000-crore investment that CEO Sanjiv Puri committed on Friday will be allocated towards setting up 20 integrated consumer goods manufacturing & logistics facilities in 12 states across India.


FMCG major too has promised to invest Rs 10,000 crore investment in its upcoming food parks, managing director Acharya Bal Krishna said.


 The UAE-based Sharaf Group signed an MoU for its committed Rs 5,000-crore investment to augment farm produce, collection, processing and export.


Multinational retail firms Amazon and Metro were next on the list with commitments worth Rs 3,450 crore and Rs 1,690 crore in retail and wholesale trade, respectively. Companies like Janani Foods, Cargill, Britannia, Hains Celestial, CP Wholesale and RP Sanjeev Goenka Group too have expressed interest to invest more than Rs 1,000 crore each.


Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who spearheaded the initiative of World Food India, on the lines of international events, said, “These investments will help us realise the goal of doubling farmers’ income as well as generating massive employment in the food processing sector.”


Earlier in the day, the PM emphasised the need for private investments in the area to transform India into a global food-processing hub. “Come, invest in India, the place with unlimited opportunities to deliver food — from farm to the fork”. He drew multinationals’ attention to the country’s “delightful cuisine’’. Christopher Columbus was attracted to Indian spices and reached America in search of those, the PM said. ‘’Food processing is a way of life in India,’’ the PM added while referring to papads, chatnis, and murabbas as exciting creations of India. 


Among other food majors, Nestle’s global chairman Paul Bulcke said, “We had some challenging times not so long ago, when our heritage of food safety was questioned. But we have overcome these. No individual entity has answers to all food-related problems but we have to overcome them together. Food safety is non-negotiable for us and we can definitely offer our expertise.”


Amanda Sourry, president of foods, Unilever, said, “With a population of 1.3 billion, a burgeoning middle class, a youth segment larger than the entire population of the United States  and the increasing rate of urbanisation, the opportunity of providing nutritious, safe and tasty food to more than one billion people must be addressed.”


The three-day event is targeting to turn the country into a hub of processed food. According to estimates from ministry of food processing industries, demand for food will increase by 50 per cent and the world population will swell by a fifth by 2040.

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FSSAI asks corporates to spread message of food safety

 

Food regulator FSSAI today asked corporates to actively involved in the efforts to spread the message of food safety and nutrition in the country.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) organised a workshop on social mobilisation for ‘Safe and Nutritious Food: A way of life’. Broad theme was ‘Corporates for Safe and Nutritious Food’, focused on building a coalition of corporates and design specific interventions that companies can take up.

Over 100 participants from the corporate sector, mainly food businesses came out in full support of FSSAI in its efforts to provide safe and nutritious food to the citizens, FSSAI said in a statement.

Speaking at the event, FSSAI Chairperson Ashish Bahuguna urged corporates to “get actively involved in the efforts to spread the message of food safety and nutrition”.

He hoped that this is just the beginning of long-term engagement between FSSAI and food businesses for social mobilisation.

FSSAI CEO Pawan Agarwal elaborated on various initiatives by the regulator for spreading the message of food safety and nutrition at different places like home, schools, work places and eating places etc.

Among corporates that included both Indian food companies like Dabur and Britannia to multinationals such as Nestle, Mondelez, Pepsi, there was a general consensus that investing in food safety and nutrition is smart, right and sustainable thing to do.

In his keynote address, Dr Lawrence Haddad, Executive Director, Global Alliance for Improvement of Nutrition (GAIN) pointed out that it is in the interest of businesses to invest in food safety and nutrition.

Santosh Desai, Managing Director, Future Brands, described how there has been a fundamental shift in the thinking of corporates about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

On this occasion, FSSAI also launched its new website, a water portal and food safety connect for an integrated complaint redressal system.

Unsealed or Unlabelled ? Your bubbletop may contain unsafe tap water

CHENNAI: If the 20-litre water container you buy does not have a seal and a label with details of the manufacturer, you may be just paying for tap water.

From a shopkeeper selling water in dented, dirty cans in Arumbakkam to a ‘ghost’ packaged water unit in Red Hills, TOI tracked the journey of a set of bubble top containers — a source of drinking water for nearly one-third of the city’s population.

The shop on Tiruveedhi Amman Koil street in Arumbakkam sells at least seven cans a day. The containers, which have no labels, in violation of the rules set down by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and food safety department, are sold for Rs10. The shopkeeper said he bought the water from a dealer in Gandhi Nagar, two streets away. When TOI contacted the dealer, who identified himself as Srinivasan, he said he hadn’t sold water to the shop for almost a year. When questioned where he sourced his water from, he was jittery. “I own a unit in Red Hills called Saipriya. I have the required licences,” he said. But Saipriya is not among the 450-odd packaged water units registered under BIS and the state food safety department in Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur.

Although only 17 packaged units have the licence to operate in Chennai, an online search reveals many more. Based on tip-offs, the food safety department raided and sealed three packaged water units in Kodambakkam, Saidapet and Perambur. None of them had licences. As a crisis looms large, more such units are likely to crop up, say officials. “We step up our vigilance from April to June. But this year, we’ve had to start early,” said R Kathiravan, designated food safety officer, Chennai. Last year, of the 12 samples collected, five were found to be unsafe, substandard or misbranded.

Packaged water units, most of which are located in Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur, require a groundwater clearance certificate and approval from Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board before getting a BIS tag. They require a licence from the food safety department. Officials say while contamination of water sold by licenced manufacturers occurs at the filling and packaging level, misbranding, reusing containers above limit, happen at the distribution point. “Many bubble tops are filled by ill-trained workers,” said a food safety officer in Kancheepuram, where 10 units were sealed in November.

However, manufacturers say most violations happen at distribution points. “Only 10% of manufacturers market the water. Most engage middlemen,” said N Murali, patron, Tamil Nadu Packaged Drinking Water Association.

Officials say some neighbourhoods have small units that filter water only through RO, which may not remove all microorganism and then sell. Some work independently, while others are dealers for licenced manufacturers. They refill cans a few times before sending them back to the manufacturers. Sometimes, manufacturers cooperate as it saves transportation costs.

Public health officials say mushrooming of such units is dangerous as just one filtration may not be enough to purify water. “Besides, in reverse osmosis, the membrane may not be frequently cleaned. There should be better awareness among the public to ask for labels before they buy the water,” said director of public health K Kolandaswamy.

Big food companies keen on food fortification – FSSAI

                                                  

Big food companies keen on food fortification: FSSAI


Big food companies like Cargill, Future group and Tata Global Beverage

 have shown interest in launching fortified food items to fight malnutrition, a top official of food safety regulator FSSAI today said.

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

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), which has released standards for fortification of milk, salt, edible oil, wheat flour and rice as well as logo to be used by the food companies, is now making draft standards for packaged food items and the same will be released in the next two months.

Briefing media about the steps taken to promote food fortification, FSSAI CEO Pankaj Kumar Agarwal said a special meeting on large scale food fortification was held here today.

The meeting was attended by Bill Gates, Co-chair and Trustee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and eight secretaries from various ministries, including health, food, HRD, food processing and women and child development.

The Gates Foundation and the Tata Trusts have jointly committed their support to this programme, Agarwal said, adding that a new website was launched today.

“I am encouraged by the government’s new initiatives to advance India’s nutrition goals… The foundation is committed to working with the government and other partners to help scale nutrition interventions that advance India’s nutrition goals,” Gates was quoted as saying in an FSSAI release.

Stating that the Ministry of Women and Child Development is considering making food fortification mandatory, Agarwal said this would “accelerate the process” but should be done in a phased manner with different timeline for each products.

However, he emphasised that supply side needs to be strengthened, otherwise it would be difficult to enforce.

“Mother Dairy is fortifying its token milk. They are the first to use logo. Cargill will launch its fortified edible oil. Tata Beverages has shown interest in fortified tea,” he said, citing examples of growing interest from the food industry.

The Future group is setting up a food park near Bengaluru and is “very keen on fortification”, Agarwal said, adding that several states are at advanced stages of adopting fortified foods in government programmes.

FSSAI has set standards for fortification of salt with iodine and iron; of vegetable oil and milk with Vitamin A and D; wheat flour and rice with iron, folic acid, zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin A and some other micronutrients.

Agarwal said the fortification process is easier in the case of salt, edible oil and milk than wheat flour and rice.

About 70 per cent of pre-school children and over 50 per cent of women suffer from anaemia due to iron deficiency.

Food fortification is a simple, proven, cost-effective and complementary strategy that has been used across the globe to effectively prevent vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

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A year later, 99.9% ‘Indian brand Maggi ‘ wins 60% of market share

 

Unfazed by yoga guru Ramdev-led Patanjali’s anti-MNC campaign, Nestle India on Tuesday said its commitment to India will be “unwavering” with a history of over 104 years of presence in the country and described itself as “99.9 per cent” Indian.

“We have been in India for 104 years, 99.9 per cent of my company is Indian starting with me… I am proud of this heritage that we have in this country and proud of what the company has done in this country,” Nestle India Chairman and Managing Director Suresh Narayanan told PTI.

Stating that the company’s consumers, suppliers, vendors, partners and shareholders are all Indians, he said: “My contribution to taxes and salaries are all to Indians and therefore I am at a loss to understand as what else must I be doing to be called as Indian.”

He was responding to a query on how the company views allegations by Patanjali through various advertisements that just like the way “East India Company enslaved and looted us, multinational companies are still doing the same by selling soap, shampoo, toothpaste, cream, powder and similar daily items at exorbitant price”.

Narayanan further said: “So, while the statements are read also by my board both India and globally in Switzerland, we do not change our views simply because of the rhetoric.”

Choosing not to get into a slanging match, he said: “Irrespective of what people might say, they have their points of view, I respect their point of view. Nestle’s purpose and value will be unwavering and its commitment to this country would also be unwavering.”

Reiterating that the “bond and relationship” with India built over the course of a century “are rock-solid”, he said, “The dignity and respect that we command as an entity is something we are grateful for and we would always be grateful”.

Citing the example of the Maggi crisis, Narayanan said that not even once during the entire crisis, the company had a single incident of unrest.

Even though Nestle India shut down five factories for five months due to the ban on Maggi, it did not have a single problem at any of the plants, he added.

“No distributor left us or supplier left us and no shareholder betrayed us and that tells you that they are happy dealing with us as a company and they are happy with the trust and relationship that we have established these years,” Narayanan said further.

“If all these remain with me and I do not change my behaviour, then why should I be worried what people might say or think about my antecedents.”

On whether Nestle India will foray into ayurvedic FMCG products, which is fast becoming popular, he replied in the negative.

“The difference for Nestle is Nestle looks for nutrition and does not look at the origin or the source of the nutrition. This is a company involved in science, technology and R&D in nutrition,” he explained.

According to Narayanan, image, left, Nestle India’s aim is to make efficacious products and it does extensive trials to ensure the items are sustainable and stable and give the right kind of nutrition as far as consumers are concerned.

“I do not see our strategy changing from a primacy of nutrition, science, technology and wellness to a primacy which needs to say that something from this stream of medicine simply because it’s nice one to use. That as a company, we do not have that philosophy,” Narayanan clarified.

 

A year after Maggi made a comeback following a ban of over five months, Nestle India is looking to consolidate its leadership position in the noodles segment, and re-grow the overall category that has shrunk due to trust issues with consumers over food safety.

Besides, the company, which launched 25 to 30 new products across categories in the last three months, is working to grow the categories in its pursuit.

“The (Maggi) brand was clinically dead in June 2015 when the crisis happened but at the same time, I am happy to say that today, it is knocking at 60 per cent market share and we are back to leadership,” Narayanan said.

Maggi was banned by the FSSAI in June 2015 citing the presence of lead beyond permissible limits and labelling regulations on taste enhancer ‘MSG’. At the time, Nestle India withdrew the product from the market.

Before the ban, Maggi commanded a market share of around 75 per cent. Following legal battles, the popular noodles brand was back in the market in November last year.

“We are not yet back to where we were but we still have a journey to traverse but we are back strongly to leadership,” Narayanan said.

According to estimates, in 2015, the overall noodles segment in India was valued at around Rs 2,300 crore.

“This is about 20-30 per cent less than what it should have been…because of the unfortunate seed of doubt that was planted on Maggi, two things happened — one was that level of trust in noodles itself became a suspect because we were the market leader by far,” he said.

“To a certain extent, the category was shrunk because the market leader was not there and the category came into question,” he added.

Some of the other categories in snacking such as biscuits and chips have been beneficiaries from the Maggi episode, he felt.

When asked by when Nestle India expects Maggi to achieve pre-ban market share, he said: “It is difficult to put a time.”

With the whole episode behind, Nestle India is now looking ahead with renewed vigour and focus on nutrition while expanding in other categories in oder to be counted among the best FMCG firm in India.

“We have in the last three months launched 25-30 new products across categories, not just in Maggi but in coffee, chocolates and confectionery, milk and nutrition, in all our portfolio. This is the single largest window of the new product launches that Nestle India has undertaken in its 104 years of history in the country,” he said.

Narayanan further said: “This came directly out of that desire to do what we do best as a company. To offer quality, safe products and nutritious products across variety of categories we operate in.”

When asked if the company planned to continue with the slew of product launches, he said: “The challenge for Nestle, which operates over 2,000 brands globally, is not what to launch but when to launch. The mandate that I have taken for myself and for my team, is to keep continuing the engine of innovation and renovation in fast changing India.”

For the next two quarters, the company will assess the performance of the new products and see which ones are to be continued and which needed a re-look, he said.

Dog meat trade in NE Region

Women and Child Welfare minister Maneka Gandhi, works on a computer before an interview with Reuters at her office in New Delhi, India, October 19, 2015. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/Files

Women and Child Welfare minister Maneka Gandhi, works on a computer before an interview with Reuters at her office in New Delhi, India, October 19, 2015. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/Files

NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 26 (PTI): Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi has written to DoNER Minister Jitendra Singh, requesting him to end illegal trade and consumption of dog meat in the north-east region and also sought the intervention of NIA in tracing traders indulging in drugs and arms trafficking.

 

The letter cites Food Safety and Standards Regulation, 2011 which doesn’t allow dogs, cats and other animals to be slaughtered for food. The letter adds that dog meat consumption, therefore, is “illegal” and “cruel”.

 

“I am writing to request you to please look into the blatantly illegal dog meat trade in Nagaland and Mizoram,” starts the letter which was written earlier this month.

 

The letter also describes the brutal treatment meted out to the dogs while they are being smuggled.
“In Nagaland alone, more than 30,000 dogs are illegally smuggled from neighbouring states in jute sacks where they have their mouth either tied our stitched shut. These animals are starved with no food or water and brutally beaten to death before they are torched and sold as meat to consumers,” the letter said.

 

The letter then talks about how the same set of smugglers also indulge in drugs and arms trafficking.
“There is not only illegal smuggling and slaughter of dogs but also smuggling of arms and ammunition along with narcotic drugs, blatantly carried out by the same gangs.”

 

“This is a serious cause for concern for the security of the region and I suggest that agencies such as the NIA (National Investigation Agency) must be asked to establish the persons involved in this thoroughly organised racket,” Maneka wrote.

 

Attached with the letter is a survey in Nagaland carried out by Humane Society International (HSI) which estimates that at least 40 dogs per day and 15,000 dogs per year are sold each in Kohima and Dimapur.

 

One kg of dog meat costs Rs 200 here and the consumption peaks during Christmas, according to HSI.
No such estimates are cited for Mizoram. However, the letter mentions how Mizoram government had issued orders in 2007 to stop illegal trade of dogs but that has not been implemented.

 

According to Section 428 and 429 of IPC killing or maiming of any animal is punishable with a fine or imprisonment of up to 5 years and under Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 killing an animal or offering it for sale can invite a jail term of 3 months.

Prawns injected with Jelly for higher prices

 

Prawns being injected with jelly-like substances so they will sell for higher prices have been filmed in this shocking video showing dodgy food practices.

The footage, taken in a Vietnam factory, shows the crustaceans being injected in the head and tail.

This will make them plumper and heavier, commanding more money in the export market.

The footage, shot by a Vietnamese TV station, shows the tiger prawns being filled with a substance known as carboxymethyl cellulose or CMC.

Although it’s not harmful to people, it is hoodwinking customers into thinking the prawns are a better product.

Dissolved in water, CMC is often used as a thickener for icing.

Facebook / garytvcom Prawns being injected with jelly to plump them up
The practice uses a thickening agent which is usually found in icing

Greenpeace released a report last year about what they called Dodgy Prawns , discussing the Australian prawn market – the bulk of which are imported from Vietnam.

The Epoch Times reported earlier this year that the gel-injected prawns were also making their way from China into the US, and food safety experts said there is reason to be concerned.

The gel, they explained, was usually extracted from animal skins and bones, and composed of collagen, but it was not always so harmless.

Wu Wenhui, a professor at Shanghai Ocean University, said in an interview in the Chinese press that customers should be wary about industrial gel ending up in shrimp, given that it’s cheaper than the edible version.

Facebook / garytvcom Prawns being injected with jelly to plump them up
Prawns are injected with jelly to plump them up for consumers

“Industrial gel is used for furniture, print, and contains many heavy metals such as lead and mercury, which harms the liver and blood, and is even carcinogenic.”

Even if the gel is the harmless kind, there’s a concern that its injection process may not be entirely without danger.

“Who can guarantee that the process is aseptic?” said Liu Huiping, a member of the executive council of the Tianjin aquatic products association, in an interview with the Beijing News