FSSAI bats for healthier namkeens and mithais

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on February 12, 2020

To launch a special logo for reformulated traditional snacks

Indian consumers can look forward to healthier variants of namkeens and mithais (sweets) in the coming months. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has begun discussions with traditional namkeen and sweet-makers, urging them to reformulate their products by cutting down on salt, sugar and saturated fat levels.

According to industry sources, to create a common identity for such healthier traditional snack products, the FSSAI is also looking to launch a brand or logo which will be displayed on the labels of products that have less sugar, salt, natural ingredients, pure khoya, paneer and milk with no added colours and zero transfat.

According to sources, this is being done so that consumers can identify such variants or products in the traditional namkeens and sweets space. The logo will have the FSSAI validation and will be backed by scientific analysis. The regulator can have a logo like ‘‘Same Taste Better Health: FSSAI Verified.’’

FSSAI CEO Pawan Agarwal has been pushing the packaged food industry to voluntarily cut down on salt, sugar and saturated fat levels, and several companies have already made commitments under its flagship programme “The Eat Right India Movement”. This also comes at a time when FSSAI is in the process of overhauling the labelling regulations.

Working on threshold limits

Industry sources said that FSSAI, in collaboration with industry players, will work with the scientific community, research institutions and other government bodies to come up with recommendations of threshold limits for salt, sugar and saturated fat in various namkeens and mithais after assessing the current sugar levels. The food safety authority officials have held several meetings in this regard with the members of Federation of Sweets and Namkeen Manufacturers, which includes Haldiram, Bikanervala and Om Sweets.

Based on these threshold limits, the players will gradually reformulate their products by voluntarily cutting down on salt, sugar and saturated levels and focussing on using natural ingredients and pure milk-based ingredients. A senior industry player said that feasible alternatives will also be looked at so that the reduction in salt and sugar levels can be done without altering the taste of products.

Getting a make-over

A spokesperson for the Federation of Sweets and Namkeen Manufacturers said,, “There is a proposal for a joint effort of the industry with the FSSAI to give our Indian traditional sweets and namkeens a makeover, which are increasingly being perceived to be unhealthy compared to other snack formats. Once the threshold levels are set, the industry will work towards gradually reducing levels of salt, sugar and saturated fat in our products.”

Published on February 12, 2020

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