Consumer Awareness in Food Market: Fact or Fear?

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Everything changes with time. Not only tangible things but also intangible things such as climate, lifestyle and preferences changes as well. Today, most of us depend on ready to eat or ready to serve food and drinks when we are on work. We need five serving of food in a day and except lunch and dinner it seems impracticable to eat homemade food in between so that we need snacks food like instant noodles, chips or cheese balls, biscuits, bakery or beverages. These have made our life comfortable because we do not have to stay hungry, travel back home and eat and come back to work again nor those food goes stale and rotten in the shelves even of months, comes in convenient containment and reasonable price.

Feeding today’s population of 8 billion is impossible without technology and industrialization. There is technology incorporated in everything; from farming to processing. Everyone’s role is equally important and one should dedicate himself for better capacity building and better performance and work should be done with cooperation and understanding. There are chances that some sector can go dysfunctional or faulty but instead of eliminating the role from the system, should take corrective action and monitor afterwards.

Similar is the case with propaganda of Noodles and potato chips and beverages in the food market. Medias and writers has wrongly interpreted the fact and without knowing the science behind and claimed the food to be deleterious to health which obviously is not. It is not a bomb that we have to panic and fear about. After all it the one that had been part of our diet and favorite food for decades and years! We have to analyze following question before we make our mind.
1. Are the data we have been provided reliable source?
2. What is the permissible limit and is there a significant difference?
3. How often do you consume the food?

Most of times it is just rumors that goes viral but are not justifiable. Despite of provoking consumers with chemicals and ingredients it contains and arousing rage to band its production, and supplies, all concerned parties like nutritionist, food technologist, scientists, industrialist, Medias and consumer should work to look upon the root cause for fault and how to make corrective action and what preventive measures need to be taken.

There is no need to panicking about chemicals. We are surrounded by chemicals as everything is made up of chemicals. Even our body is made up of chemicals oxygen, hydrogen, water, sugar, calcium, phosphate, magnesium, chloride, iron, copper, zinc, sodium, potassium etc. The only thing that determines chemical to be poison is concentration. Even sugar and salt may turns to be poison if present in higher concentration than required in the body. The harmful effect depends upon amount and frequency you intake them.

Licensed Food industries practice food safety protocols and comply in quality and standards. Most of them have an automated food processing plant with rigorous quality control system but by this, this is not meant to overshadow the adulterations and fraudulent that also happens to exist in some food industries. Similarly, provoking news about potato chips that it is fried in pork fat has simply dramatized the scenario. We human beings have been using animal fat in our diet since origin of our civilization. Animal products are also used massively in medicinal and pharmaceuticals and cosmetics but we not care about them if it is vegetarian of non vegetarian. In the name of awareness, consumers should be made aware of facts not fear and consumers have sense well enough to make their own choice.

Meet the Author

Ms. Shrestha holds Masters degree in Food Engineering and Bioprocess Technology from Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) Thailand. She is currently working for Governemnt of Nepal at Departmet of Food Technology and Quality Control (DFTQC), Kathmandu. She is also a teching faculty in College of Applied food and Dairy Technology (CAFODAT) afiiliated to Purbanchal university, Nepal.