India Focus: Parle, Gladful, local millet safety standards and more feature in our round-up

By Pearly Neo

- Last updated on GMT

Parle, Gladful, local millet safety standards and more feature in this edition of India Focus. ©Getty Images
Parle, Gladful, local millet safety standards and more feature in this edition of India Focus. ©Getty Images

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Parle, Gladful, local millet safety standards and more feature in this edition of India Focus.

Platinum power: Parle sets sights on ‘sizeable’ Middle East market with premium biscuits range

Indian biscuit giant Parle is looking to tap into premiumisation trends in the Middle East, believing that higher spending power and a demand for exclusivity are good drivers for its Platina range.

Parle is already a major household name for biscuits in India, best-known for its Parle-G range which targets the mass market with a focus on providing value for money.

Over in the Middle East though, Parle believes that the market demographics are now favorable for premium biscuit brand Platina which comprises several different ranges of products, in addition to its more mainstream brands.

“Many local consumers in the GCC are showing a preference for premium brands like Platina, and there is no doubt that they have more of the spending power here in order to go for more premium items,”​ Parle International Business Vice President HS Sareen told FoodNavigator-Asia​ at the recent Gulfood 2023 show.

Packing tradition in convenience: India’s Gladful on family-friendly formats to address India’s protein deficiency problem

Jaipur-based alt-protein start-up Gladful is working with mothers to hone its product development strategy, while also targeting partnerships for brand awareness and expansion in the country’s Tier 2 and 3 cities.

Gladful was founded in December 2022 by a sister-brother duo to provide convenient, high-protein foods for Indian families. Its product range, based on lentils, millets and legumes, includes pre-sprouted mixes, cookies and desserts.

Speaking to FoodNavigator-Asia​, CEO Parul Sharma – a FMCG veteran with 15 years of experience in some of the world’s biggest snacks manufacturers – explained where the brand fits in the backdrop of India’s protein deficiency problem: “India is amongst the largest countries when it comes to protein deficiency in the world - with 80% of Indians and 73% of urban Indians deficient in protein. It’s not really a problem of the poor or vegetarians. Indian diets are by nature carbohydrates-heavy, and there is also limited awareness of its functions.”

Millet measures: India sets new food safety standards for traditional cereal in anticipation of production boom

India has implemented new comprehensive food safety and quality standards for millets in the country in anticipation of a production and demand boom as the United Nations has designated 2023 as the International Year of Millets.

Millets have long been a part of traditional Indian diets before falling out of style over the years as a staple in favour of more commercialised crops such as wheat and rice – but now the Indian government believes that revitalisation of the sector could be on the way in the wake of the UN dedicating 2023 to the cereal.

“Most millet crops are native to India, and they are highly tolerant to drought and other extreme weather conditions, requiring low chemical fertiliser or pesticide inputs,”​ Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) CEO Kamala Vardhana Rao said via a formal statement.

Counterfeit-plagued alcohol sector could be fatal for both companies and consumers – Indian association

The high rate of counterfeiting in India has resulted in far-reaching repercussions on public health and economic development, sparking an urgent need to educate consumers and for companies to adopt authentication solutions, says an Indian association.

From luxury goods to everyday commodities, all sorts of phony products are threatening the health and safety of consumers in India.

The “State of Counterfeiting in India 2022” report by Authentication Solution Providers’ Association (ASPA) and analytics company CRISIL revealed that tobacco, pharmaceutical, alcohol, FMCG and currency were the top five most affected sectors in fiscal year 2021. 

It was also found that 89% of consumers surveyed acknowledged the presence of counterfeited products in the market.

Fortification for the future: Government role crucial to ensure widespread affordable nutrition via staple foods

The role of governments is crucial to introduce affordable proper nutrition to mass consumers via the fortification of staple foods, particularly in countries with large populations such as India and China.

This was the conclusion of an expert panel at the Gulfood 2023 event in Dubai discussing food fortification for consumers, comprising DSM EMEA and South Asia Business Development Manager Sridhar NB and BASF Middle East Food Fortification Lead Suliman Daraghmah.

Although many food firms have been looking at the fortification of products with vitamins, minerals and other functionalities to improve their appeal, the panel found that the only way for fortification to really make a difference to public health would be via staple foods.

“Over three billion people worldwide cannot afford healthy diets, especially when these tend to be about five times more expensive than diets that serve to just meet energy needs alone,”​ Daraghmah told the floor.

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