NEW DELHI, March 17 — There's no doubt India has a big appetite. The country's soft drink and packaged food industry is worth almost US$60 billion (RM266.4 billion). But expanding wallets have lead to expanding waistlines.
The country's rates of diabetes and obesity have risen to alarming levels, prompting the government to crack down on packaging and draft up rules for food manufacturers to display fat, sugar and salt contents.
New Delhi also wants to introduce a so-called fat tax.
Kaira says: “India is planning something which has been done abroad, something called traffic light labelling, in which they use red, yellow and green colors to depict the nutrition value and the industry says it wont work — so what they're planning to do now is go and approach the government officials and explain their concerns and basically lodge a complaint against these measures.
“They also say that the government must resist pressure from health advocates, they also say that much of the arguments which we are being presented are unscientific.”
The stakes are high for food giants like Pepsi, Coca Cola, Nestle and McDonald's which have collectively poured in billions of dollars to expand in the world's fastest growing economy. Last month, executives from some of these companies met with trade groups in New Delhi in a bid to push back.
But the government isn't alone. Parents are also throwing their weight behind the draft rules, looking to tighten the belt on junk food. — Reuters