“Label Padhega India” campaign aims to raise awareness on packaged foods

Product labelling is a crucial aspect of product marketing. However, unlike in many other countries, consumers in India often do not read the ingredient lists or gather comprehensive information about products before making a purchase. The ‘Label Padhega India’ campaign seeks to address these issues by raising awareness and promoting informed consumerism.

The goal of ‘Label Padhega India’ is to educate consumers about the risks hidden in packaged food labels, emphasizing the harm of preservatives and unhealthy additives. Through collaboration with influencers and celebrities, the campaign aims to reach a wide audience and influence consumer behavior positively.

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Product labelling is a crucial aspect of product marketing. However, unlike in many other countries, consumers in India often do not read the ingredient lists or gather comprehensive information about products before making a purchase.

Product labelling in India is plagued by several issues, ranging from non-compliance with regulations to language barriers and misinformation. Many labels feature misleading claims, inconsistent standards, and illegible text, which compromise transparency and make it difficult for consumers to make informed decisions. The enforcement of labelling regulations is often inadequate, and imported goods frequently fail to meet Indian labelling standards. This lack of uniformity and clarity can have serious implications for consumer health and safety.

Revant Himatsingka, also known as FoodPharmer, has emerged as a prominent figure in the movement towards better food labelling practices since he launched the “Label Padhega Campaign”.

The objective of ‘Label Padhega India’ is to educate consumers about the hidden dangers lurking in the nutritional labels of packaged foods. It aims to highlight the detrimental effects of preservatives and unhealthy additives on health. By bringing together a diverse group of influencers and celebrities, the campaign seeks to reach a broad audience and make a substantial impact on consumer habits.

Aimed at encouraging consumers to scrutinize the nutritional labels on packaged products the campaign features a star-studded lineup of supporters, including actor Archana Puran Singh, choreographer Terence Lewis, sportsperson Abhinav Bindra, cricketer Dinesh Karthik, and popular influencers like Flying Beast, Ankita Bainyanpuria, Ankur Warikoo, Tech Burner, Thugesh, Saurav Joshi, Abhi and Niyu, and Luke Coutinho.

Recently, Himatsingka announced a significant victory: PepsiCo, the maker of Lay’s chips, has decided to reduce the use of palm oil in its products. This change came after Himatsingka highlighted the discrepancy between the ingredients used in Lay’s chips in India and the USA. His advocacy, supported by public pressure, led PepsiCo to begin trials for new oil blends in 2023.

Palm oil, widely used in snacks like chips and biscuits, is associated with adverse health effects when consumed in excess, particularly concerning heart health. Himatsingka’s efforts to spotlight the health implications of such ingredients have been instrumental in promoting healthier food choices among consumers. His previous work, including a viral video on the high sugar content in Bournvita and its impact on children, has significantly raised public awareness about the health risks posed by processed foods.

Globally, consumers rarely scrutinize product labels in detail to discern the ingredients used. To address this, many countries have adopted pictorial labels to convey essential information quickly and effectively. For example, Chile uses black octagonal signs to indicate high levels of sugar, sodium, calories, and saturated fats. Similarly, India uses green dots on food products to signify that they are vegetarian. These visual cues help consumers make healthier choices at a glance.

For the ‘Label Padhega India’ campaign to achieve its goals, several steps need to be taken:

  • Enhanced Regulatory Enforcement: Authorities must ensure strict compliance with labelling regulations to protect consumers from misleading information and harmful ingredients.
  • Consumer Education: Continuous efforts to educate consumers about reading and understanding product labels are crucial. This includes simplifying labels and using clear, visual cues to convey important information.
  • Corporate Responsibility: Companies should prioritize transparency and health in their product formulations and labelling practices. Public pressure and advocacy can drive significant changes, as evidenced by the PepsiCo case.
  • Support from Influencers: The involvement of popular figures can amplify the campaign’s message and encourage more people to pay attention to product labels.

The ‘Label Padhega India’ campaign marks a significant stride in fostering domestic consumer activism and raising awareness about the critical issues surrounding product labelling in India. As consumers become more conscientious about their health and the quality of products they purchase, this campaign underscores the importance of understanding product labels, especially for items targeting sensitive consumer segments like children.

The campaign is a critical step towards building a culture of informed consumerism in India. By addressing the inherent issues related to product labelling and promoting greater scrutiny of nutritional information, this initiative has the potential to transform consumer behavior and improve public health. As more people become aware of what goes into their food, the demand for healthier, safer products will likely grow, driving positive changes across the food industry.

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