5th Edition Nutrithink Conference – Hexagon Nutrition Panel Discussion Key Highlights

How to effectively combine ‘Nature & Science’ in your existing & new product formulations to upgrade your product’s performance for the current immunity & nutrition requirements?

Panel Discussion

5th Edition Nutrithink Conference

6th October 2020 | 2:30 – 3:25 PM.

The Panel Discussion was moderated by, Ms. Subhaprada Nishtala, Director In-Charge, International Training Centre for Food Safety & Applied Nutrition (ITC-FSAN), FSSAI

The Panel Members Included were –

  • Ms. Anshu Gupta, Nutrition, Regulatory & External Affairs Leader, AMEA, General Mills
  • Ms. Naaznin Husein, Nutritional Advisor, Indian Navy, – INS Hamla, Nutritional Counsellor, Sports & Bollywood Celebrities, Member (IDA)
  •  Mr. Arun Om Lal – VP, Hexagon Nutrition

Here are the major Key takeaways from this Incredible Panel Discussion:

  1. Renowned Nutritionist, Ms. Naaznin Husein kickstarted the discussion by mentioning first-hand incidences from her real-life practice where she worked with young mothers & infants from low socio-economic strata in slum areas of Mumbai. She mentioned that it was interesting to see that even the leftovers of vegetables & fruits changed the nutritional status for the better, even though the ration challenges persisted.
  2. Ms. Anshu Gupta mentioned that good nutrition is the key to sustainable development & that micronutrient deficiencies can have devastating effects on health. Despite India’s good economic performance malnutrition remains one of the most significant human development challenges. She also mentioned that each year India loses more than $12 billion in GDP due to nutrition deficiencies alone. Thus, micronutrient fortification is one of the most cost-effective & efficient strategies to deal with hidden hunger or micronutrient deficiencies.
  3. Mr. Arun Om Lal elaborated on the hidden hunger emphasizing the fact that hidden hunger can be exceptionally detrimental to developing children, especially in children below 6 years of age. Micronutrient deficiencies, especially Vitamin A, C, D & Iron are prevalent in India, therefore, we need to find practical solutions to bridge these nutrition gaps.
  4. He also mentioned that keeping the above problems in mind, Hexagon Nutrition is doing innovative fortification thereby supporting the beverage industry, bakery industry, nutrition supplements, dietary food applications in synchronization with the RDA, ICMR specifications, and FSSAI Regulatory protocols.
  5. Talking about the stability of the fortificants used, Mr. Arun Om Lal mentioned that food-grade micronutrients are highly bioavailable to the body. Apart from staple food fortification, the entire nutrition landscape has changed completely. We are talking a lot about Vitamin C and immunity these days amid the pandemic, and in the light of this pandemic a new nutrient called Ascorbyl palmitate has come up. It is an ester derived from ascorbic acid and palmitic acid, producing a type of vitamin C that is fat-soluble. In addition to being used as a source of vitamin C, it is often used as a food additive for antioxidants.
  6. He also added that nowadays we are seeing a lot of vitamin and mineral-infused beverages such as Vitamin Water, Tea & Coffee shots, Milk and milk products such as cottage cheese, lassi, etc. Moreover, we need to understand the genuine requirements of the target audience & the application of the food amongst that audience. The nutrients and specifications vary amongst the different sets of populations.
  7. Ms. Anshu Gupta added that all fortificants that are added are well researched & studied. A lot of strategies and interventions are already in place but still, a lot of investments need to be done eyeing the effective outcomes & ROI.
  8. Mr. Arun Om Lal, also highlighted that the fortification process has become very lively in the last 6 months amid the pandemic. Very soon analytical kits, to test micronutrient & the shelf life with a special focus on the enhancement of the food fortificants & nutrients will be launched.
  9. Ms. Naaznin also added that if staple foods become part of the larger part of the daily ecosystem of the common consumer it becomes easier to manage the burden of micronutrient deficiencies without demanding much behavioral change. This will also help deal with deficiencies in the new age adolescents & Millenials.
  10. Ms. Anshu Gupta said that with many researches in place a lot of attention has been brought up to the taste & flavor of the fortified products. Though no major changes happen with regards to micronutrients. Having said that, taste remains the prime driver no matter how much consumer behavioral changes happen. Fortification is not about replacement; it rather complements the food products & nutrition strategies we are trying to implement.

Highlighting the fact that there is a dire need of making the consumer aware of these products with regards to portability & awareness we as an industry need to drive the right messages & communication for consumers so that they make the right & informed choice.

These innovative products should be the enablers to enhance the existing malnutrition as the new age Indian customer is more willing to pay when he/she sees value in the product with added benefits.

11. Arun Om Lal also added, in the last 6 months the new food entrants in the fortification zone that have come to the limelight such as coffee shots, tea shots, jams, seasonings have started to be accepted fantastically with open arms. A lot of R&D has gone into this though. He also reiterated the recent fact that FSSAI is now looking at fortifying pure ghee as well.

This amazing session moderated by Ms. Subhaprada Nishtala came to a close with concluding remarks thanking the experts for their sharp and concise inputs on the existing & new product formulations for the fulfillment of the current immunity & nutrition requirements

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