In a bid to create awareness about the harmful effects of a non-balanced diet, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on Tuesday unveiled a nation-wide campaign ‘Aaj se thoda kum’ (loosely translated Slightly less from today) featuring actor Rajkummar Rao to nudge citizens to reduce salt, sugar and fat intake.
Rajkummar Rao said, “I know the importance of eating healthy. And in my profession we have to stay healthy. This campaign is for everyone trying to maintain a healthy life and healthy habits. In today’s world health is crucial as millions of people are suffering from non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and heart diseases which are on the rise.”
The film, made by production firm Ishan Echoes, features Rao talking directly to the viewers asking them to take measures to control the intake of salt, sugar and fat while cooking at home. The campaign will be promoted across television, social media and cinema halls.
“Many of these issues in the developed countries like US are a part of their mainstream media debate. In India, the idea is to start a conversation and debate around the consumption of salt, sugar and fat. We may not get it right in the first year but the discussion will evolve and we will able to achieve our targets of helping people to reduce their consumption of unhealthy ingredients,” said FSSAI chief executive Pawan Agarwal.
FSSAI has also launched a microsite on the movement which will help consumers to access tips and information on eating right along with the launch of artificial intelligence -powered chat bot ‘Food Funda’ which will address food-related consumer queries.
On the supplier side, the regulator has managed to garner the support of 15 consumer packaged goods which have pledged to reformulate their products reducing unhealthy ingredients and launching healthy products over a period of three to seven years.
“They will also have to abide by the regulations that we come out with in due course of time,” he added.
FSSAI is in the process of drafting guidelines on labelling packaged food products which are high in sugar, salt and fat content. The guidelines are likely to come out in the next one year.
The food regulator plans to phase-out trans-fats in food products by the edible oil industry, bakeries and ‘halwais’ making India ‘Trans-fats-free by 2022’.
It also plans to promote healthier food options by the food services sector and introduction of menu labelling on nutrition information. The promotion of healthier food options and responsible retail practices by food retailers and e-commerce players is also on regulator’s agenda.
FSSAI said it is in consultation to introduce new regulations for labelling, advertising and claims for packaged food industry aimed at guiding consumers to be more careful about their food choices.