Agri Business

ISMA to launch educative portal to boost sugar offtake

Our Bureau Kolkata | Updated on October 28, 2020 Published on October 28, 2020

Despite being the second-largest producer of sugar in the world after Brazil and the largest consumer, the per capita consumption of sugar in India is still relatively lower as compared to some of the other countries.

According to Sudhanshu Pandey, Secretary, Food & Public Distribution, even while the overall sugar consumption is high in India, the per capita consumption has been largely stagnant at around 19 kg per person for the last couple of years. The average per capita consumption of sugar in some of the other countries is close to 23.5 kg. In fact in some of the developed countries like USA, UK, Germany, France, Singapore, Russia, New Zealand and Australia as also several developing countries like Brazil and Thailand the per capita consumption is as high as 35-50 kg per person.

“The stagnant consumption could be a function of various factors including economic growth, consumption pattern and consumption expenditure among others. It is important that people receive the right information about sugar consumption so as to encourage people who are not consuming the right quantity to do so,” Pandey said at the virtual launch of a portal – “meetha.org” on Wednesday.

The per capita consumption growth of sugar in India between 2000 and 2016 has been amongst the lowest in the world at around 1.25 per cent per year, based on a simple average. This is despite an increase in income per person in the same period in India, which should have increased the sugar consumption at a much greater rate, said a press release from ISMA.

According to a recent survey on sugar intake in India undertaken by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi, the intake of added sugar in metro cities in India was 19.5 grams per day, much lower to the level recommended by ICMR of 30 gram per day.

ISMA campaign

According to Avinash Verma, Director General, ISMA, there is a lot of negative, unsubstantiated propaganda around sugar which wrongly influences the consumers and misleads them. ISMA, therefore,

has started a campaign, including on social media, to educate and spread the awareness amongst the consumers on healthy eating and healthy lifestyle, as also to debunk the myths surrounding sugar.

As a part of this campaign, ISMA will be holding workshops & webinars, where nutritionists, dieticians, endocrinologists, public health specialists, medical practitioners, sugar producers and consumers would share their expertise, ideas and knowledge on the subject. The portal would also share information about the consumption, utilization and the value of natural sugar and traditional sugar products.

Innovation is the key

Nudging the industry to undertake initiatives to popularise various traditional sugar products and fresh juice as a part of this campaign, Pandey said, “Innovation is the key. There is a lot of misconception about Indian sugar abroad and it is not considered to be at par with Brazilian or Thai sugar. We need to counter that narrative and should be aggressive in marketing.”

According to Pandey, there is a need to advocate the message of positive acceptance of sugar in minds of consumers in regional languages. “The portal should be developed in local regional languages so that narratives could be changed, and is more relevant in States like Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, etc,” he said.

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Published on October 28, 2020
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