Setting the ground for food literacy in India: Food Future Foundation

The Food Future Foundation is working on the demand side to build a food-literate society

The Food Future Foundation celebrated its third Foundation Day on October 17, 2022 in New Delhi. The programme highlighted the importance of food literacy to transform food system in India for a secure, healthy, and sustainable future through partnerships and collaboration.

While delivering the opening speech, Pawan Agarwal, Founder & Chief Executive, Food Future Foundation, former Chief Executive Officer, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) said, “It’s important that our consumers are literate about the healthy food offering and buy sustainably grown food. The Food Future Foundation has a big role in inventing this food literacy. Moreover, Fuel Food Counselor is another concept that we are working on, which could be a game changer for the country. This will help impart proper food literacy to the country’s population.”

Adding to this, he further said, “We would like to focus on Foundational Food Literacy as the mainstream intervention by the foundation as we move forward.”

The Foundation Day lecture was given by Vinita Bali, Chair, Board of Directors- Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), former Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Britannia.

“When we educate people about food, it’s equally important to make this educational content easily accessible and affordable for the people. Nutrition is a complex subject. It is crucial to break down the complex idea of nutrition into simple behaviours. The Food Future Foundation has been actively doing this applaudable task through its programmes and plans. The approach of educating the consumers is a right approach the foundation has initiated. I urge the foundation to take this ahead to the homes of the children as well. There is a very big role that the food companies, marketers and communication companies can play by simply disseminating healthy food practices,” she said.

During her keynote address, Dr Pankaj Mittal, Secretary General, Association of Indian Universities (AIU) pointed out, “At the academic level, food safety and healthy food practices should be integrated into the university curriculum. Moreover, there should also be a focus on combating food waste in university campuses. In addition to it, junk food should be prohibited in campuses. Special consideration for food research and food concealers should be there in the universities.”

Further, during the programme, a special address was given Vaidya Manoj Nesari, Adviser, Ministry of AYUSH, Govt. of India. Expressing his thoughts on the importance of increasing consumer awareness about the health benefits of edible herbs and plants, Nesari said, “There has been a rising incidence of diseases like cancer and others due to the inferior quality of food resulting from contaminated soil because of pesticides and fertilizers. On the other hand, despite having the Food Security Act, food hunger has been a worrisome issue. The incidence of obesity has increased significantly along with the rise of iron deficiency in the form of anaemia. Hence, it’s important to address such issues with the increasing awareness about the health benefits of edible herbs and plants among the consumers of the country.”

The event also saw the announcement of the first Annual Food Future Award of Excellence, which was handed over to Sunetra Roday, Senior Adviser, Food Future Foundation, while acknowledging her efforts in establishing Foundational Food Literacy.

With the concept of Foundational Food Literacy, the foundation aims to build a food-literate society for a sustainable food future for healthy people on a healthy planet. Through this vision, the foundation aims to enable millions of people to make the dietary shift to healthy, balanced, diverse, and sustainable diets as per National Dietary Guidelines.

Mansi Jamsudkar


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