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BW Businessworld

India Seeks Pepsi Role In School Meal Scheme

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Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Tuesday (26 August) said global food and beverages major PepsiCo is looking to bring down sugar contents in its soft drinks.
Badal met PepsiCo's India-born Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi in New Delhi.
"In soft drinks they (PepsiCo) are looking at how to bring down the sugar content (but) that same cold drink has the taste but healthy contents in it," the minister said after the meeting.
Nooyi, however, did not comment and only said her visit to India was "wonderful".
The minister also added that the PepsiCo chairman was open to the idea of playing a role in enhancing the nutritional value of meals provided under the government's midday scheme.
"I have suggested if they could come up for midday meal scheme in rural areas as malnutrition is big issue... some of these packed meals which could enhance the nutrition value and which provide for iron deficiency they were interested in that they said they would look into that," Badal said.
Badal said she discussed with Nooyi on how to contribute in giving healthy food in tiffins for school going children.
"I have suggested there is huge potential for providing healthy meals for children in their tiffins and something which is healthy and could be done quickly in the morning," she added.
The government's Midday Meals scheme caters to some 107 million children daily but suffers from safety and hygiene problems.
There are also issues of supplies mismanagement and corruption, leading to wastage of funds and children being served low quality food.
"I suggested to them (PepsiCo) to research and develop products which will be healthy and will also contain proteins," Badal told reporters.
An amount of about Rs 13,000 crore has been allocated for the scheme in the current financial year ending March 2015.
The meals children receive in government-run schools are cooked as per regional tastes and include bread, rice, lentils and vegetables.