New Delhi: As the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the need for nutrition and immunity to the fore, French food products major Danone and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on Thursday launched their annual initiative to highlight the importance of nutrition and the role of protein in particular, in maintaining good health.
Speaking to IANS, on the 'The Protein Week' initiative, Himanshu Bakshi, Managing Director, Danone India said: "Our objective is to highlight the importance of nutrition, and the role of protein in particular in maintaining good health and an active lifestyle. Protein deficiency is a serious concern in India and over 90 per cent Indians are unaware of their protein requirement."
He said that adequate protein and nutrition intake is the key to strengthening the immune system.
On the partnership with CII, Bakshi said: "At Danone we believe in driving locally relevant health agendas with partners. CII is a credible body that works closely with organizations who strive to bring about a positive change in society. They are an industry body with a massive reach and a strong focus on health and nutrition."
He said that the programme is a nation- wide public health awareness campaign and the target is to educate all sections of the society through various interventions.
While CII will help in reaching out to working Indians, Danone will mobilise various nutritionists through digital platforms to engage with other sections of the society, especially mothers and caregivers as they play a key role in influencing the right eating habits at home.
Several pan India interventions across platforms are planned to sensitise Indians in partnership with CII, such as webinars in several cities, where leading nutritionists will educate people about the role of protein and other vital nutrients in building immunity, he said.
"In addition, we launched a first of its kind Immuno-Nutrient Calculator, which will help Indians assess if their daily diet has all the key nutrients to strengthen their immune system," he said.
The Danone India MD said that the company is working on providing affordable protein solutions that can help the masses, under the 'Protinex' umbrella, adding that the company is also working on bringing healthier eating and drinking choices to Indian consumers with products that have lower sugar and higher immune- nutrients.
The Chairperson, CII National Committee on Nutrition, Vinita Bali said: "Through this initiative, we want to nudge the average Indian to put their health as a priority .We want to enhance their knowledge and understanding of protein and what constitutes a healthy and nutritious diet that leads to improved immunity thereby bringing in a behavioral change within households that places health at the centre of dietary choices."
She noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged existing paradigms on so many fronts, including the way we live, work, travel and perform our basic day to day functions.
It has also curtailed economic activity, disrupted several industries, created both demand and supply issues and is, significantly, but silently, leading to poorer diets and therefore poor nutrition, Bali added.
Recognising that sustainable growth has to be driven by both economic and human development factors, CII prioritised nutrition in its national agenda and constituted a National Committee on Nutrition in 2017 to foster multi-stakeholder dialog and action, given the multiple facets and dimensions of nutrition, she added.