Nutrition-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are rising across the globe. Once seen as a trend in wealthier countries and affluent communities, today developing countries like India and their rural communities are also being impacted. One important factor driving the growing NCD burden is the increased consumption of cheap, energy-dense and easily available nutrient-poor foods. People are increasingly consuming highly processed foods and meals instead of nutritious meals.
To check the NCD rates, governments worldwide are implementing multi-pronged policy measures. A common and effective one is food labeling, which allows consumers to make informed and healthy choices through necessary information on the pack. In India, it is mandatory for food manufacturers to display the name of the food, a list of ingredients, net weight, brand and address of the manufacturer etc. In addition, lot/code/batch identification details must be provided for easy tracking in case of a problem. Date-of-manufacture, use-by/expiry/best-before dates, and storage instructions inform us about shelf-life and storage conditions. The declaration of nutrition information has been made mandatory since 2009. This means the label should provide nutritional facts per 100gm or 100ml or per serving and contain information on nutrients like—Energy (in Kcal); protein (in grams); carbohydrates (specifying quantity of sugar,) and fat (in gram) and specify the quantity of saturated fats and trans fats.