Food and beverages major PepsiCo India on Monday said it will create awareness about the importance of ‘whole grains’ among children in over 200 schools in the national capital, Gurugram and Mumbai this year. The initiative is part of the company’s support to Eat Right School Programme launched by food safety regulator FSSAI, it said. Focusing on iron deficiency, the programme was successfully taken to 4.5 lakh students in three cities in the maiden year 2018-19, the company added. “In partnership with leading home science colleges, the programme has been rolled out in government and private schools. …In 2019-20, PepsiCo plans to expand the reach to over 200 schools in these cities with a focus on whole grains,” PepsiCo India said in a statement.
The awareness programme will be implemented by voluntary home science college students trained as ‘Safe and Nutritious Food (SNF) Fellows’. Recognising PepsiCo’s efforts, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) CEO Pawan Agarwal said students are the most susceptible to food-borne diseases and due to lack of awareness, they are open to experimenting with different kinds of foods (mostly unhealthy) while at school.
The objective of FSSAI’s Eat Right School programme is to create continuous engagement with students, teachers and parents to make them aware about the importance of safe food, healthy and sustainable diets, he added. PepsiCo India President Ahmed ElSheikh said the company recognises the need to support such interventions to drive a larger impact for the society. “We plan to continue to scale our efforts to inculcate healthy food habits amongst the community,” he added. Since 2006, PepsiCo has been running a nutrition education programme called ‘Get Active’.