To beat rampant malnutrition and iron deficiency among children, India has invited global soft drink major PepsiCo to partner with it on research and development of processed food products that can be supplied as part of the mid-day meals in rural India.
The Union Budget for 2014-15 allocated Rs 13,215 crore for the Mid-Day Meal scheme.
The suggestion was made by Food Processing Industries Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal during a meeting with PepsiCo Chairman Indra Nooyi.
Badal stressed upon the potential for providing healthy meals to children in their tiffin boxes. The minister also highlighted that large segments of kids in the rural areas are suffering from iron deficiency.
“PepsiCo has already invested substantially in India’s food processing sector and we wish to double this investment in the coming years,” said PepsiCo Chairman Indra Nooyi.
Badal also asked the soft drink major to bring down the sugar content beverages so that the health aspects of such products are duly taken care of. She also suggested that the company should bring out new products in the market that are tasty as well as healthy and nutritious.The minister also cited the example of oat-based products that can be developed as part of the food processing sector to provide choice of healthy and nutritious food products to consumers at a reasonable price.