Deadly cocktail hits Indian palate

Food firms try to alter Indians' tastes by using flavours, enhancers in food.

Hyderabad: The Indian palate is now dominated by food flavours and taste enhancers, according to latest market reports. The market is estimated to be $745 million, and is expected to grow. Colouring agents, flavours, sweeteners, enhancers, emulsifiers and preservatives are seeing a huge demand.

Food expert Vinod Kumar said, “A taste is being developed wherein foods not flavoured with these ingredients do not attract much attention. At the same time, with Codex being set for all the additives, there is a huge code of standardisation which makes it very important for people to only use within those limits. If the limits are in excess, then action will be taken against them.” While the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has re-designed standards to international standards, it has also ensured that the Indian palate has a variety of flavours to experiment.

Nutritionist Madhu-rima said, “With people opting to eat out at least two times a week, there is a scope for development of these tastes. Enhancers make one eat more than required leading to abdominal obesity and also early onset of non-communicable diseases.” Sweeteners made from corn, high fructose corn syrup, and high-intensity sweeteners have seen a sharp rise thanks to the huge increase in the consumption of packed fruit juices, sharbats, artificial fruit drinks and other beverages.

Dr A. Krishnan, senior consultant, community medicine said, “There is an aggressive marketing technique for these foods and beverages. When children walk into the supermarket with their pa-rents, they are attracted to these products and develop a taste for them after which it becomes a part of their eating habit. Use of preserved and packed-fruit juices and beverages is one of the reasons for rise in obesity levels among school going children.”

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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