South Asia radius

Hydrocolloids gain from FSSAI’s new additives standards

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock
© iStock

Related tags Food India

DuPont India has launched new fruit beverage stabilisers to take advantage of the decision late last year by the food regulator to allow the use of hydrocolloids in fruit drinks.

The company said it has formulated various hydrocolloids to offer improved mouthfeel and better suspension at low concentrations in the form of its new Grindsted JU stabilisers.

The two new blends, JU 543 and JU 4801, claim to be more reasonably priced than other similar solutions on the market, with comparable mouthfeel and viscosity. According to DuPont, the blends also function as “ambient soluble stabilisers​" that handle well in Indian conditions.

Consumers' preference for affordable, convenient and delicious beverages continues to grow year after year​,” said Parth Patel, DuPont nutrition’s regional business director. 

To provide consumers with better-for-you options that taste great and align with their daily needs, we have created a range of innovative system solutions using on-trend ingredients that complement every lifestyle and occasion​." 

Though South Asia is witnessing sizeable economic growth, consumer tastes are still largely driven by cost, forcing companies to develop new ingredients at an equitable price point, said Karuna Jayakrishna, a Dupont application specialist. 

And to be accepted by consumers, ready-to-serve fruit beverages must have a natural taste, rich flavour and refreshing mouthfeel. 

The JU system solutions are tailor made to provide optimum stability and viscosity in ready-to-serve fruit beverages. They are easy to apply, helping improve production efficiency​,” she said.

India’s regulator, the FSSAI, recently finalised some 12,000 standards for food additives and ingredients in line with global safety standards Codex, leading to the approval of many pending products, and prompting more new food and beverage lines to hit the market.

According to Surender Kamal, DuPont’s regulatory manager for India, this will result in a surge in demand for products like the Grindsted systems because the majority of fruit drinks are now covered under the category of “water-based flavoured drinks (non-carbonated)​” which now allows hydrocolloid blends under the FSSAI’s ruling.

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FSSAI promotes fortification with release of new standards

India’s food regulator has drafted guidelines that set the standards for the fortification of foods including rice, milk, wheat flour, salt and edible oil.

Fortification

Featured in the proposed Food Safety and Standards (Fortification of Foods) Regulations, 2016, the standards are set up to promote fortification in a bid to reduce malnutrition.

Kumar Agarwal, chief executive of the FSSAI, said the schedule was a “timely intervention​” and called on manufacturers to concentrate on affordable functional foods.

There have been efforts in the past, but this is a comprehensive plan to fight the challenge of malnutrition in the country. We have drafted the regulations, which will be notified soon​,” Agarwal said.

Ashish Bahuguna, the regulator’s chairman, said the food industry should now work together to improve nutritional values in packaged foods in “a kind of joint-venture between various departments and ministries and private entities like the Tata Trust, non-government organisations and international organisations​.” 

Current standards require salt to be fortified with iodine, though the draft guidelines call for an increase to 30 parts per million. Moreover, the draft decision to allow for 850-1,100ppm of iron to be added to salt will not only increase its nutritional value, but will also open up the value-added market for branded commodity players.

Vitamin A should be added to edible oil at 25 IU per gram, while quantities of vitamin D should stand at 4.5 IU per gram of oil. A litre of fortified milk should contain 770 IU of vitamin A and 550 IU of vitamin D. 

Atta, meanwhile, can contain a range of vitamins and minerals, including 20mg of iron, 1,300µg of folic acid and 10µg of vitamin B12. And the level of fortification for a kilo of rice should stand at 20mg of iron, 1,300µg of folic acid and 10µg of vitamin B12.

The control of micronutrient deficiencies is an essential part of the overarching effort of the government to fight hunger and malnutrition in the country​,” said Anupriya Patel, India’s health minister, adding that fortification had become a tried and tested strategy to improve nutrition across a broad section of society.

It can be introduced quickly and can produce nutritional benefits for populations in a short period of time. It is safe and cost-effective, especially if advantage is taken of the existing technology and delivery platforms​.” 

Veeba funding round suggests continuing investor interest in condiments

Proceeds from a INR40cr funding round will be used by specialist condiments manufacturer Veeba Food Services to grow manufacturing, reinforce distribution and boost marketing, its chief executive has announced.

Veeba

Veeba raised USD$6m in a B round led by a Belgian investment fund and a Bengaluru venture capitalist, Viraj Bahl said.

The deal marks the second major investment in the Indian condiments segment after Cremica Food Industries raised INR100cr (US$15m) from Rabo Equity Advisors in June.

It follows the US$6m that Veeba, a Delhi-based institutional and retail condiment supplier, raised from Saama Capital and DSG Consumer Partners last June.

"It will be used primarily towards getting new production equipment, as we look to further build and create an innovation-centric product development process​," Bahl, who came to prominence after selling a family packaged food form to Germany’s Oetker Group for INR110cr (US$16.5m) in 2008, told Economic Times​.

Three-year-old Veeba supplies sauces to fast-food chains including KFC, Pizza Hut, Burger King. Last year, it also launched a retail line of speciality sources, preserves and dressings.

Verlinvest, an investment company created by the founders of Anheuser-Busch InBev, normally looks at much bigger deals but was tempted by Veeba’s operational expertise.

"This is a rare venture stage investment for Verlinvest as we typically look at larger deals in the US$50m-100m range in India and globally. It is a testament to the great quality of the founding team and the outstanding business they have created​," said Nicholas Cator, its executive director. 

Ash Lilani, managing partner of Saama Capital, said that India is seeing a wave of “disruption taking place​” across a number of industries, including food manufacture.

Over the next five to 10 years, India will build brands of amazing consumer products​,” he said. “Veeba is focusing on taking existing categories, and making them healthier and more nutritious, using better quality ingredients​.

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