PHDCCI webinar discusses various aspects to combat malnutrition through food fortification, biofortification


Deliberations were made on the challenges and opportunities faced in the nutraceutical market with a focus on fortification

The PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) recently organised a webinar in association with Mumbai-based Hexagon Nutrition on the subject ’Towards Improved Nutrition: Challenges and Future Strategies.’ The webinar focussed on various strategies to combat malnutrition through food fortification and biofortification. 


Panellists included Vikram Kelkar, MD, Hexagon Nutrition; Naveen Jain, Secretary, Department of Foods, Civic Supply and Consumer Affairs, Government of Rajasthan; Dr C Vasudevappa, Vice-Chancellor, National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM); Sheryl Salis, Clinical Nutritionist and Founder, Nurture Health Solution; Dr Sujeet Ranjan, Executive, Coalition for Food and Nutrition Security; Dr Siddharth Waghulkar, Deputy Head, World Food Program, India; Vivek Arora from the Food Fortification Resource Centre (FFRC), Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and Dr Nair from FSSAI. 


From PHDCCI, Digvijay Dhabarkar, Chairman, Rajasthan Division; Dr Yogesh Srivastava, Assistant Secretary-General, PHDCCI; Deepankar Khare, Mallika Verma and Dr Deepti Gulati, were present. 


Kelkar while delivering the welcome address talked about the challenges and opportunities faced in the nutraceutical market with a focus on fortification. “With India transforming into a global manufacturing hub, there is a strong impetus for the nutraceutical and product manufacturers to set up their production facilities in India,” he said. 


Dr Vasudevappa gave the special address on the role of nutrition fortification and said, “Malnutrition is not necessarily the imbalance of the nutrient composition but there are some minor nutrients which need to be imbibed into the food. Only then we will be completing our nutritional aspect.” He also mentioned that we have climbed from 103 to 87 on the hunger index but still lagging.


Jain, the chief guest of the webinar, gave his inaugural address on the steps the Rajasthan government is taking to reduce malnutrition using food fortification and the effect of their efforts. 


“By 2022, children enrolled in the midday meal and Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) programme will be provided fortified rice”, he said emphasizing a ’foolproof programme’ to provide fortified staples to the populace. 


During the technical session, moderated by Dr Gulati, Dr Vasudevappa addressed food quality and policies stating, “Until the quality is assured, we are cheating the nation” and encouraged students and educators to understand the science behind fortification, announcing the creation of a Centre of Excellence at NIFTEM for this purpose. 


Salis emphasised a diversified diet while addressing the misconceptions in this area that discourage people from purchasing fortified food. Salil opined, “Emphasise on the importance of buying fortified food products. Plug the nutritional gap with fortification and reinforce traditional food habits.” 


Waghulkar spoke on Britannia’s ’creative capitalism’ techniques to promote fortified biscuits with ’selective targeting’ to drive ‘industrial gains.’ Dr Nair clarified FSSAI’s regulatory policies to produce and sell fortified food. 


Simultaneously, Dr Ranjan spoke on public-private partnership in combatting malnutrition effectively. “Public-private partnership is benefitting everyone. We can make it a reality and suggest to policymakers and help all aspects of food production and distribution,” he said. 


Sakura Koner is a freelance writer from Kolkata

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