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Making nutritious food reach lesser privileged kids

Can lesser privileged children get access to nutritious food? In an attempt to make it possible, Wholsum Foods Pvt Ltd, maker of millet-based children’s food brand Slurrp Farm has partnered with the Akshaya Patra Foundation for a ‘Food For All Children’ program aimed at enabling children from all income backgrounds to benefit from nutrient-dense supergrains like millets and lentils. Through the partnership, Wholsum Foods will annually contribute one percent of the company’s topline towards the use of millets in all of Akshaya Patra’s mid-meal schemes for children.

According to NFHS-5 (National Family Health Survey) 2019-21, India’s malnutrition statistics stand at an alarming rate. The survey revealed that 35.5% of children under the age of 5 were stunted and 32.1% were underweight. In fact, in the 2022 Global Hunger Index, India ranks 107th out of 121 countries.

In a bid to combat these statistics, the government of India has placed a strong emphasis on boosting millets consumption in the country.

The partnership results from Wholsum Foods’ belief that brands across the board have the responsibility to take others along with them. As a young brand traversing the path of growth, Wholsum Foods aims to embed environmental, social, and corporate governance in everything the organization does, right from the beginning. Under the ‘Food For All Children’ program, Wholsum Foods and the Akshaya Patra Foundation will work towards cultivating healthy eating habits amongst young children, by enabling access to millet-focused resources.

Employees at Wholsum Foods will also participate in a Volunteer Program over the next few months, giving them a chance to interact and engage with the children who are a part of the Foundation.

Speaking about the partnership with Akshaya Patra, Shauravi Malik and Meghana Narayan, Co-founders of Wholsum Foods said: “Studies in recent years have reiterated that scientifically prepared traditional foods using millets and pulses can significantly improve key nutritional parameters among children and women. Akshaya Patra’s focus on nutri-cereals like millets comes at a time when India is grappling with a triple burden of undernutrition, childhood obesity as well as micronutrient deficiencies.”

“At Wholsum Foods, we believe in embedding stakeholder value and sustainability into our business on Day 0. As the organization grows, it is our responsibility to take all stakeholders along with us, especially children, who have the most to benefit from the consumption of millets. We are proud to partner with Akshaya Patra Foundation for the ‘Food For All’ programme – the Foundation has been relentlessly working towards boosting nutrition for young children in India and our partnership is a significant step towards making an impact in the health and wellbeing of young children from different economic backgrounds,” they added.

Meghana Narayan is also a Board Member at the Akshaya Patra Research Lab, an initiative by the Foundation in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Science.  The Akshaya Patra Research Lab has significantly contributed to improving child food security, elimination of malnutrition, policy development, and advocacy for battling hunger by conducting comprehensive studies.

Mr. Anant Arora, Chief Sustainability & Communication Officer, The Akshaya Patra Foundation said, “Our association with Wholsum Foods has enabled us to serve society, reaching out to the underprivileged sections through our various endeavours. We believe that the Millet revolution will play an important role in improving nutrition statistics in the country, especially amongst children. Today, we start a new chapter in this successful relationship with Wholsum Foods- a brand that is leading the revolution from the forefront to take a step further in this direction.”

With 2023 designated as the International Year of Millets by the United Nations, the supergrains have gained traction worldwide. More than 70 countries supported India’s resolution of increasing public awareness of the health benefits of millets. The government of India is also encouraging state governments to undertake initiatives to improve the adoption of millets across the country.

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