The Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) has asked restaurants to print calorie counts of food items on their menus. This is proposed as a means to promote healthy eating habits, but it is said to be a challenge as quantities of ingredients and recipes keep varying.
Eat Right Movement
“This is a way to nudge food companies to do something which is in the interest of the health of the nation,” Chief Executive of FSSAI, Pawan Agarwal said to The Economic Times, adding that it is an initiative under its Eat Right Movement that will include food companies committing to reformulation of their products with lesser salt and sugar than is used now. It also includes the elimination of trans fats phase by phase.
Apart from the calorie count, restaurants will also be required to include variants of their dishes with lower fat, lower sugar and lower sugar. Assigning calories to dishes will pose a stiff challenge according to representatives of restaurants and food chains across the country.
A simple commitment
“The recipes of dishes on the menu in a restaurant are not standardized, so it will be a huge challenge to mention calorie count of dishes on the menu,” Prakul Kumar, secretary general of the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) said to ET.
“Big food companies including Nestle, ITC, Patanjali, big quick service restaurant (QSR) chains (including halwai associations), major organized retailers and e-commerce players including Big-Basket, Amazon Grofers will make a simple commitment and sign a pledge to promote healthy eating,” ET reported Agarwal as saying.
“We welcome every step”
“We are committed to promoting healthy food on our platforms. We will welcome and support every step taken towards raising public awareness on issues at the grass root level,” said Albinder Dhindsa, co-founder Grofers to ET, adding that they will promote FSSAI’s eating right initiative through collections and a store solely dedicated for this.
Apart from these regulations, as part of its initiatives to make India trans-fat-free by 2022, FSSAI has also proposed a limitation of trans-fat content in vegetable oils, vegetable fat and hydrogenated vegetable oil to a maximum of 2% by weight.
Top food companies, oil companies, QSR chains, and organized retailers were invited by FSSAI to join the self-regulation exercise.