Data reveals gaps in transparent food labelling leading to misinformed choices among Indians

Current food labelling standards in India are in dire need of standardisation and transparency

A comprehensive analysis of more than 1 Lakh packaged food and drink labels has unearthed ingredient and nutrition labelling loopholes which may potentially impact the health of millions of Indians. In an astonishing revelation via internal research conducted by Xume, which operates at the intersection of food tech and health, close to 40 per cent of products analysed do not transparently disclose critical information required to make healthier food choices.

The study revealed several gaps in ingredient and nutrition transparency, not just in HFSS products (high in saturated fat, salt, and sugar), but also in categories like Milk, Peanut Butter, Muesli and Protein Bars. Current food labelling standards in India are in dire need of standardisation and transparency. With the aid of the government, ethical brands and consumers, collective action is required to tackle labelling loopholes being consciously exploited.

A WHO India 2022 report, “The growth of ultra-processed foods in India” which cites multiple studies, states that excessive intake of fats, oils, confectionery items rich in sugar (such as biscuits), and savoury snacks is linked to the growing NCD crisis. Coupled with a sedentary lifestyle, there is a growing epidemic of issues such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Currently, there are over 200 million hypertensives and 120 million diabetics/prediabetics in India.

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