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Tax on junk food to boost organic, wellness products

Tax on junk food to boost organic, wellness products
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The government’s consideration of a tax on junk foods is expected to boost the current consumption trends towards organic foods and health & wellness products, according to Arvind Mediratta, CEO & Managing Director of Metro Cash and Carry, India.

In a statement, Mediratta, said: “The health and wellness foods sector has been estimated to have a potential of Rs 33,000 crore in the Indian market, with a steady upwards growth rate over the last couple of years. With a large percentage of our population under the age of 30 years – many of them young professionals with busy work schedules – a healthier diet is the cornerstone of a wholesome and healthier lifestyle, with natural and organic foods becoming a key component. The growth of a middle class that increasingly enjoys a larger disposable income and has greater exposure to global standards of food safety and quality is another factor.”

Reflecting such patterns of consumption in its business, Mediratta said the firm has seen a strong trend towards organic fresh and packaged foods amongst its customers. “We have also seen kiranas and small retailer customers expanding the breadth and depth of their assortment in the organic staples segment, catering to increasing consumer awareness and resulting in better penetration and distribution of organic foods in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities,” said Mediratta.

The Nagpur University has asked all its affiliated colleges to ensure no junk food is available in their canteens besides asking them to prepare a health database of students.

The NU’s instructions comes following University Grants Commission’s (UGC) guidelines with regard to junk food. Last month, the UGC had issued a circular to all vice chancellors across the country asking them to ban junk food on their premises. However, it had not specified what it meant by ‘junk food’.

NU student welfare department director Neehal Sheikh told TOI eatables like wafers, samosa and fried items, which are ready to eat in college canteens, would be considered as junk food. He said they would ask colleges to keep only food that is not just healthy but also improves concentration of students.

“Banning junk food in colleges would set new standards for healthy food and make the students live better, learn better and also reduce obesity levels in young learners, thus preventing lifestyle diseases which have a direct link with excessive weight,” UGC secretary Jaspal S Sandhu said in a circular to all universities.

ARTICLE SOURCE: Times of India

 

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