News Brief

India's Packaged Food, Beverages Industry Braces For Major Change With New Sugar Content Recommendations - All About It

Kuldeep Negi

May 28, 2024, 02:36 PM | Updated 02:36 PM IST

Sugar bowl and cubes (Pixabay)
Sugar bowl and cubes (Pixabay)

The National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), which works with the Union Health Ministry-backed Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), has recommended thresholds for sugar content in packaged foods and beverages for the first time.

This new guideline could affect a wide range of products, including soft drinks, juices, cookies, ice-creams, and cereals available both online and in stores.

This initiative represents a departure from previous guidelines, which focused on calorie thresholds.

The updated NIN-ICMR dietary guidelines come after 13 years.

“These guidelines follow global best practices and are a first for India,” stated a senior executive at the Hyderabad-based NIN, Economic Times reported.

“While it is commonly understood that high-fat-sugar-and-salt foods should be minimised, a clear definition of these terms had not been established in India until now," the senior executive added.

The recommendation comes in response to increasing concerns about obesity and diabetes, and recent controversies over high sugar content in products like Bournvita and Cerelac.

According to the new guidelines drafted by a multidisciplinary committee of experts, the sugar threshold for solid foods has been calculated at about 5 per cent of energy from added sugar, not exceeding 10 per cent of energy from total sugar.

For beverages, the threshold has been calculated at about 10 per cent of energy from added sugar, not exceeding 30 per cent of energy from total sugar, including naturally present sugars in fruit juices and milk.

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Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.

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