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Eat Right: A food systems approach to transform India’s food environment

To ensure safe, healthy and sustainable diets for all Indians through a 'Food Systems Approach' to improve their health and wellbeing.

Photo of Pawan Agarwal
17 14

Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Government

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.

Eat right foundation, a registered entity that support eat right India movement in the country.

Website of Legally Registered Entity

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • 1-3 years

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?

New Delhi

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?


Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

The vision is for India since transforming the food environment through a systems approach needs to occur at the national level. Ref:Q11

What country is your selected Place located in?


Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

Over the past four years, I am leading the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), India's apex food authority. Under the national law, the FSSAI has the mandate to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for all Indian citizens. 

I have the vision to transform the food environment in India through a systems approach. It requires multi-sectoral action and cannot be achieved by focusing on a particular region alone. Hence, the vision to right eating, i.e. safe, healthy and sustainable diets extends to the entire country. For this, FSSAI is leading Eat right movement. 

Eat right movement combines regulatory action with supportive action. It includes improving the hygiene and sanitation across the value chain. Almost 300,000 Food Safety Supervisors for food service establishments have been trained and certified. Hygiene rating of restaurants, sweet and meat shops has begun. Clusters of Clean Street Food Hubs, Fruit and Vegetable markets are being certified. Food environments are being transformed through a settings-based approach in the Eat Right Home, Eat Right School and Eat Right Campus initiatives. 

Over 35,000 schools have already been enrolled. Outreach efforts such as the ‘Swasth Bharat Yatra’, a pan-India cyclothon inspired by Mahatma Gandhi (Annexure 1,2,3,4) to nudge citizens to eat right, have energized the state machinery and reached 25 million Indians.

Eat Right India was showcased to 25 countries at the World Bank’s Lighthouse event and WHO-SEARO side-event in 2019. It has been endorsed by international food systems and global food safety experts. (Annexure 5a, 5b, 6, 7) With its ‘whole of government’ and ‘whole of society’ approach, embedded in its vision, it has the potential to impact over a billion people. (Annexure 8,9)

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

India is a country of vast diversity and scale. It is the seventh-largest country by area and the second-most populous country in the world. By 2027, India would become the most populous in the world with 1.64 billion that is about one-sixth of the mankind. India is a secular federal republic governed in a democratic parliamentary system. It is a pluralistic, multilingual and multi-ethnic society with multiple religious affiliations. There are 28 states and 9 Union territories in India, with 22 official languages and hundreds of dialects in various regions. While the overall literacy rate works out to be 64.8 %, in urban areas it is 79.9% and rural areas it is 64.7%. 

The diversity in food habits and diets is large with each state and region having its own culinary specialties and dietary patterns. India is primarily an agricultural country with a rapidly growing economy. Food sector is a key sector of India’s economy. It is estimated to be about $550 billion and accounts for on-fourth of the Indian economy. With its direct link into agriculture it is estimated that about 60% of Indians depend on the food sector for livelihood. A large part of India's food sector comprises of small business and a very large is unorganized informal sector. 

Indian cuisine consists of a wide variety of regional and traditional cuisines native to the Indian subcontinent. Given the range of diversity in soil type, climate, culture, ethnic groups, and occupations, these cuisines vary substantially from each other and use locally available spices, herbs, vegetables, and fruits. Indian food is also heavily influenced by religion, in particular Hinduism, cultural choices and traditions. The cuisine is also influenced by centuries of Islamic rule, particularly the Mughal rule. Samosas and pilafs can be regarded as examples.

Agriculture and its allied sectors still remain an important sector because of its continued role in employment, income and most importantly in national food security. Its contribution to national income has gradually declined from 18.2% in 2014-15 to 16.5 % in 2019-20, reflecting the development process and the structural transformation taking place in the economy. Agriculture sector happens to be the largest source of livelihoods in India. 

There is focus on rice, wheat, sugarcane and potato cultivation in India with a lion's share of government subsidy taken away by the first three crops. As a result, there are serious dietary imbalances.  These cause several nutritional issues such as obesity and diabetes (caused by excess refined carbs), stunting (caused by inadequate protein and overall calories) and anaemia (caused by inadequate intake of pulses, green vegetables, meat). A key concern is high subsidies on rice and wheat and high tariffs barriers and poor supply management on milk and meat.

What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)


What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?


Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

India’s food sector is complex, faces several challenges that operate in a vicious cycle and are likely to grow in future with increasing population. 

Few of these are enumerated below:

Poor quality diets: The Indian diet is predominantly cereal based (rice and wheat), protein-deficient, lacking in fruits and vegetables and rising consumption of fats and sugars. Per capita per day consumption of calories is still lower than the global recommendations (2500 kcal/day) and is unequally distributed across regions, gender and age-groups. Simple carbs contribute majorly to these calories while proportion of protein, fats and vegetables is minimal.  Fats and sweeteners are either consumed excessively or inaccessible. High subsidies on rice and wheat and high tariffs barriers and poor supply management on milk and meat are the key reasons for distortions in the food sector. Low ratio of price/100 kcal of cereals as compared to milk and meat is a major reason for Indians eating a cereal centric diet.

Triple burden of malnutrition: Quarter of children and adolescents in the country are stunted; more than 50% of women of reproductive age group and children are anaemic; overweight and obesity has doubled over the last decade in both rural and urban areas of the country. Further, one in ten school-age children and adolescents are pre-diabetic. The country faces huge economic loss due to food borne diseases (FBD) – going up to 0.5% of GDP. It is estimated that in a business as usual scenario, number of cases of FBDs in India would increase from 100 million (in 2011) to about 150-177 million (in 2030) with children under-5 being most vulnerable.

Food Waste: An average of 20 percent of food being wasted in the country. Lack of warehousing, processing and cold storage facilities are the key reasons for food wastage. Fruits and vegetables (40%), milk (40%) and meat (20%) are the ones wasted the most in the sector. Given the high nutritional deficiency in India, reducing this waste needs to be addressed on priority.

Safety and Hygiene: Safety and hygiene of food across the value chain is an issue. Microbial contamination especially of milk, meat and F&V, improper temperature control and adulteration are key issues.

Environmental Degradation:This sector is the biggest contributor of plastics in the country. High use of pesticides and chemicals in farming, mono-cropping patterns (rice and sugarcane) contribute to depleting water tables and burning of rice stubbles as source of air pollution are emerging challenges for the sector.

Livelihood and employment: The food sector directly or indirectly employs about 2/3rd of Indians. Employment issues and political mobilization of crops that are well organised need to be considered.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

Eat Right India has an ambitious vision of transforming India’s food environment. It adopts a judicious mix of regulatory, capacity building, collaborative and empowerment tools and combines supportive actions to its primary regulatory mandate. It adopts a ‘food systems approach’ to address the issues in a holistic manner. 

To achieve its vision work in the following areas will be prioritized:

1. Create robust food regulatory system that includes setting science-based, globally-benchmarked standards, credible food testing, surveillance, and enforcement activities. Setting standards on use of excess salt, sugar and fat; use of recyclable plastics and tougher implementation of safety and health standards. This will help solve for food wastage and food safety without health and environmental impacts.

2.The second area will focus on improving hygiene and sanitation across the value chain through a graded approach. Capacity building through training and certification for all businesses including unorganized petty food vendors, hygiene ratings for medium and small businesses, and organizing vendors in clean clusters and hubs. Promotion of self-compliance by big food businesses will be prioritized. In order to reach out to the large informal sector and small and medium enterprises, scalable models and innovative approaches would be needed.

3.The third area is about changing food environments by taking a settings-based approach and targeting people at home, school, workplace and outside through training and capacity building and generating awareness.

4. Fourth is mass mobilization to nudge citizens to eat right. To initiate a people’s movement to create demand side push for safe food, healthier and suitable diets is needed.

This would require coordinated action by diverse group of stakeholders – the government at national, state and local level, food (and even non-food) businesses, civil society and consumer organizations, professionals of food and nutrition, farmers and farmers organizations, science and research institutions and others – using their combined skills, assets and capabilities to achieve the shared goal.

 Apart from these, realigning and repurposing of current subsidy regime in agriculture and food sector to favour healthier food environment and sustainable farm practices would be critical. For instance, a relative increase in prices of wheat and rice through gradual phasing out of subsidies in their production along with a relative decrease in price of fruits and vegetables, milk, meat and oils through targeted subsidies will create healthy food environment and move farmers towards more sustainable farm practices. This must however be accompanied with direct transfers and reskilling of farmers to ensure that there is no livelihood lost in transition. The role of FSSAI in this area will be limited to provision of technical advice to the related departments/ ministries.

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

The vision for 2050 is to bring about a transformation of the food ecosystem in India and address its numerous public health, economic, environmental and cultural challenges related to food, achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. 

As a result of various regulatory measures, safe food would be accessible to everyone. Effective implementation of the food safety law would assure people of safe food everywhere. There would be safe water everywhere. People would be aware of safe and hygienic food practices. Thus, the threat of food borne illnesses would be minimized. The reduced burden of food-related diseases would result in greater productivity and economic development.

Healthy food options would accessible and affordable to everyone. People would be well-informed and dietary patterns would shift largely to local, regional, seasonal, plant-based, whole-foods.Traditional Indian food, infused by the ancient Indian wisdom of Ayurveda would become popular. Food companies would provide healthy food and beverage options with low salt, fat and sugar content. Industrial trans-fat would be eliminated entirely. Fortified foods, with added vitamins and minerals would be available everywhere. This would result in the decline of micronutrient deficiencies, stunting and wasting, particularly among children, decline of non-communicable diseases such as heart diseases, hypertension and diabetes. 

Food production would shift to environmentally sustainable methods such as organic farming and biological solutions for pesticides, drip irrigation etc. Food loss would be minimized, thus making more food available for the growing population. Surplus food would be shared with those in need at a systemic level, thus eliminating hunger. Carbon footprint, non-biodegradable waste, greenhouse gas emissions would be minimized. There would be a greener and cleaner environment for everyone and an increased quality of life for everyone.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

The food system is of paramount importance to the outcomes of nutrition, health, and sustainability, and affected by factors cutting across environment, diets, economics, culture, technology and policy.

India’s population is projected to be around 1.64 billion by 2050, one sixth of the world’s population. Our vision for 2050, to feed this growing population, is to have primary production driven by small-scale farmers connected through agri-food value chains, benefiting from economies of scale. Integration of traditional knowledge with new technologies and robust logistics would provide eco-friendly solutions. A community-driven approach would create self-sufficient local food ecosystems reducing storage and transport costs and post-harvest losses. By 2050, the majority of farmers in India would be engaged in organic farming using a wide variety of alternatives to chemical fertilizers to enrich soil. Drip irrigation and water harvesting would be mainstreamed and help India to achieve zero-water wastage. The production of crops will shift to millets, traditional food crops and regional grains as per local needs. The food industry would transform to accommodate small scale production units resulting in self-sustaining local economies with minimal environment consequences.

To significantly reduce under-nutrition, micronutrient malnutrition and NCDs by 2050, a shift towards consumption of foods low in salt, fat and sugar as well as universalization of fortified foods containing additional key vitamins and minerals is envisioned. Reformulated food products by the food industry with healthier ingredients will mainstay of the food system. A shift towards personalized diets is anticipated due to increase in purchasing power and technology-led platforms. Consumption of regional, local and seasonal produce would be the norm. A rejuvenation of traditional culture emerging from Ayurveda is expected. The food culture of 2050 would be traditional, indigenous and aligned with India’s ancient wisdom of Ayurveda and be mainstreamed through small-scale local entrepreneurs.

Ensuring a nourishing food future for India is inextricably linked to its economic growth and equity. Economic costs of food borne diseases in India amounted to 0.5% of the GDP, equivalent to 28 billion USD (in 2010). This would be reduced to less than 0.1% of the GDP by 2050. India is primarily an agriculture-based economy with the agriculture sector making up nearly 47% of Indian labour force which stands at 521.9-million-worker, world’s second-largest, as of 2017. As agricultural operations become more efficient with the use of technology and developments, a substantial section of the labour force would move up the ladder and be employed in allied activities, logistics, supply chain and others, reducing the share of labour force in agriculture sector to 15% by 2050. This would improve wages thereby improving purchasing power and reducing rural distress. There would be growth of small and medium enterprises in the food sector. As these local economies are majorly driven by female workforce, it would result in community level development and bridge the gender gap and promote equitable economic growth.

Food service is an emerging segment of Indian service industry, currently at third position after retail and insurance. FSSAI is taking a cluster-based approach for training of unorganised food businesses, which accounts for 65% of the overall food service market in the country. Holistic capacity building and continuous improvement of the petty vendors would improve consumer trust, livelihood opportunities for these vendors and the local economy.

Emerging technologies from across the spectrum, from biotechnology to big data, internet of things, block-chain, agricultural biotechnology, and artificial intelligence have the potential to transform the landscape of food from the farm to the fork. Concept of plastic footprint for food and beverage sector will be introduced. There would be innovative environment friendly options in place to replace the use of plastics in the industry.  Big data gathered through smartphones and body wearable devices would provide personalized information to monitor diet-linked health parameters. Data gathered from farms and food distribution networks would enable better traceability of food, quantification of the impact on the ecosystem and help reduce food wastage. Various aspects of the food system, from farm production to food processing, would be rapidly automated. With the increasing trend of migration to cities, farm production is expected to be heavily mechanized and automated. Access to the food supplied by the cloud-kitchens can turn out to be a major public health concern which would require regulatory and policy measures.

The following technological advances are particularly important for India - drought-and pest-resistant varieties of staple crops, economically viable technologies for crop management and harvesting, interventions for reducing the indiscriminate use of pesticides, solar-enabled preservation facilities for agricultural yield, technological interventions and financial instruments to guarantee fair pricing to farmers, centres for preserving diverse varieties of local crops, vegetables, and plants and alternative protein sources for meat-based products, food rooted in traditional ethno-medicinal systems such as Ayurveda, agri-biotechnology and tourism.

The factors that would enable the current workforce to effectively transition to the envisioned technological changes in the future food system are: an enabling environment for entrepreneurial ventures; creating data repositories on all aspects food, encompassing traditional recipes, taste/flavour, nutrition, and health; creating a healthy, competitive environment targeted at delivering envisioned solutions; engaging key stakeholders in creating food safety solutions (food companies, restaurants, cloud-kitchens; street vendors; aggregators and people at large, especially children). Innovations such as algae as a basis of the plant foods, in-vitro or lab-grown meat are expected to be available at a commercial level.

Government policies are critical to creating an enabling environment to ensure safe, healthy and sustainable diets. Currently, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is India’s apex food body with mandate to ensure safe and wholesome food to all citizens at all times. Its mandate is gradually being expanded for improved multi-sectoral and multi-issue coordination.  This would be renamed as the ‘Food Authority of India’ and take not only ‘whole of the Government’, but ‘whole of society approach’ in dealing with issue of food in an holistic and integrative manner for inclusive, equitable and sustainable food system to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

To ensure food security and adequate nutrition, policies to ensure availability and accessibility of food equitably would be in place in 2050. Currently, in India, food-based schemes for the vulnerable sections of society already cater to around 230 million people covered under the National Food Security Act, nearly 100 million children through the Mid-Day Meal programme and 90 million women and children through the Integrated Child Development Services programme are benefitted. Through policy interventions, the current model of distribution of food grains would change to a voucher based system by 2050 with freedom to in families to buy healthy food from local areas benefiting local communities.

For reduced consumption of sugar, salt and fat to address the rise of non-communicable diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and heart diseases, policies on implementation of sugar-tax on food and beverages, front of pack labelling, regulations for advertising to children, regulations for food served in schools would be implemented. Moreover, subsidies and tax-cuts for healthier food options, particularly plant-based, local, regional and seasonable whole-foods would be provided. Thus, policies to support institutions and budgets for large-scale consumer awareness would be introduced. The Government would be incentivized to put these policies in place by leveraging taxes from unhealthy foods and channelling them appropriately.

To support sustainable food production policies related to judicious land and water use for agricultural production would also be introduced such as limiting the land brought under cultivation, prescribing crops by region for maximum productivity, allowing only organic farming and biological solutions to control of pesticides etc. Furthermore, policies to limit food loss along the food value chain and food waste and its conversion into biofuel would be created such as mandatory donation of surplus food and used cooking oil, minimization of food loss during production and incentives to consumers to reduce food waste and recycle food through home-based or community-level practices such as composting. Policies to encourage regional trade practices would be effectively implemented. These would include streamlining import-export process, aligning with global norms and facilitating healthier, safer and sustainable food in trade by lowering taxes.

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Website

Describe how your Vision developed over the course of the Refinement Phase.

Refinement phase was an opportunity to bolster the vision for Eat Right India amongst the existing partners and expand it to new stakeholders. The vision was furthered through discussions to unpack the complex elements of ‘Eat Right India’ into four simple themes that are easy to understand, communicate and remember – Eat safe, Eat healthy, Eat sustainable, and Eat mindfully. Each theme was simplified into subthemes for ease of understanding. All the possible “levers of change” were identified, deliberated upon to maximize the reach and outcome.   

COVID-19 pandemic drove us to innovate our modus operandi with conversations moving towards virtual mode. These were sessions to map each stakeholder from its current role to its possible expanded role in the future. These discussions helped to identify the gaps and the need for involving wider set of stakeholders. This was a reason for birth of three new networks and creation of new platforms during this phase.

Please provide the names of all organizations you meaningfully partnered with to develop this latest version of your Vision (they contributed at least 10 hours of time to the Vision development during the Refinement Phase).


Centre for Food, Planet and Health @LBSNAA: P. Amudha

IDA: Jagmeet Madaan and Eram Rao

IFCA: Manjit Gill

NSI: Kumud Khanna and Pulkit Mathur

Development Partners

FFRC: Rijuta Pandav & Rohini Saran

PATH India: Neeraj Jain & Ruchika Chug Sachdeva

GAIN: Tarun Vij and Deepti Gulati

Tata Trusts: Rajan Sankar & Vivek Arora

WFP: Shariqua Yunus


CII: Meetu Kapur

HUL: Sudhir Senapati

Marico: Prabodh Halde

Mondelez: Deepak Iyer

International Organizations

BMGF: Alok Ranjan

Vital Strategies: Meenu Singh & Swati Bharadwaj

World Bank: Ashi Kohli Kathuria, Deepika Anand & Joshita Lamba

UNICEF – Vani Sethi


Bharat Krishak Samaj: Ajayvir Jakhar

Eat Right Foundation: CS Pandav & Megha Johnson

HealthSetGo: Priya Prakash

Parikshan: Dr. Pasupati

Pine Tree Picture Pvt. Ltd: Gautam Chaturvedi

Woodapple (Design Thinking): Joy Banerjee and Suparna Banerjee


Department of Consumer Affairs

Ministry of Health & Family Welfare

Ministry of Women & Child Development

Describe the specific steps you took during the Refinement phase to include different stakeholders to develop your Vision, including a description (age, profile, and total number) of the stakeholders engaged, and how you engaged with each.

With our “Engage, Excite, and Enable”- the 3-E approach we mobilized commitments across sectors, organizations and professional boundaries. Our engagement with our partners took various forms including ‘candid’ discussions on the sides of conferences, multi-stakeholder meetings and virtual discussions. We provided guidance and coordination support to ensure stakeholders’ active participation. The focus was to create multiple and distributed leadership nodes and change agents across the food ecosystem - government (national and state), food industry, associations and development organizations to expand their circle of influence.

To build the vision of a food secure, healthy and sustainable India in 2050, we took a ‘Design Thinking’ approach to answer 4 questions - What is? What if? What works? and What attracts?. Through this process we researched all the key issues facing India, their possible solutions through 'what if' scenario building', worked with our partners to implement Food Systems Leaderships concepts and envisioned how the world would be, if all our efforts came to fruition.

The vision for the programme was presented in multiple formats to suit the needs of the stakeholders in order to excite them and to lay out the role they could play in the journey.

  Annexure: The 3-E approach

What signals and trends did you draw from to inform your Vision? Please provide data or examples that back up each signal or trend.

Picking up weak signals and learning by mapping trends and uncertainties was the strategy adopted by FSSAI while refining the vision.

Key signals:

· Environment: Rising trend in organic cultivation led to FSSAI along with the Ministry of Agriculture to develop the ‘Jaivik Bharat’ logo to symbolize organic products. Paddy cultivation, a prime reason for declining water table in India and increasing awareness among consumers are driving a return to India's traditional millet rich diets.

· Diets: Changing food baskets of Indians, consumption of simple carbohydrates, high processed foods - low in nutrients and fibre. Increasing sale of packaged food, makes it critical to introduce the front of pack labeling including ‘+F’ logo to help consumers identify healthy food products.

· Culture: Traditional recipes, indigenous ingredients, forest produce are vanishing from diets. From traditional methods of cooking to consuming processed food is resulting in poor quality of diets.

· Economic loss attributed to food: India and China account for 49% of the total economic burden due to food borne diseases in low and middle income countries and for 71% of total burden in Asia (Jaffee et al. 2019). Further, the intangible costs of anemia are estimated at 4 percent of GDP for children and adults combined (Plessow et al. 2015). This signals need for immediate action at population level.

Key trends:

· Change in production and export trends of key food products:

o Decrease in production of grains (rice and wheat) and significant increase in production and exports of millets

o Fruits and vegetables – self-sufficiency and increase in exports

o Organic food – significant increase in production and exports

· Rising burden of NCDs: More than 60 percent of deaths in the country caused by NCDs such as diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension (ICMR, 2016). One in 10 school-age children and adolescents are prediabetic, deranged lipid profile: 34 and 26 percent of school-age children, and 16 and 28 percent of adolescents, have high serum triglycerides and low levels of high-density lipoproteins, respectively—major risk factors for NCDs (CNNS, 2016).

·Persistent high rates of malnutrition: More than one-fourth of nation’s children are stunted and 50 percent are anemic. Similarly, more than 50 percent women of reproductive age group and one-fourth of men in the country are anemic is a significant dent to the demographic potential. The rates of obesity doubled in both genders in last decade are signs picked up by the Eat Right India movement as its vision.

·Large informal food sector: Businesses provide products and services, employment, women form a substantial percentage of the workforce than in the formal sector. Individually, each food business may be low health risk because of limited impact on people, but cumulatively they present a significant risk.

Annexure: Foods Facts & Figures

Describe a “Day in the Life” of a key food system actor within your food system in 2050 (e.g., farmer, chef, supply chain actor, food policy actor, etc.).


I’m Raj, a data scientist. I work for the Food Security & Safety department. I live in Dehradun in Uttarakhand, with my wife Asha and two daughters.

5:00 am

Wake up to a ring of the doorbell. A neighborhood volunteer has brought a fresh basket of local fruits.

6:00 am

Srishti & I jog to the nearby orchards. Natural parks, orchards, small community farms are now accessible to all. Srishti picks her tree and we get 5 juicy plums. That’s a few credits debited.

7:30 am

Breakfast at the community ‘open air’ cafe. Such cafes dot every park in the city, run by chefs and citizen volunteers.

8:00 am

I am on a volunteer drop to get breakfast packed for my elderly neighbor.

8:15 am

I drop Srishti off at the nearby orchard. All the children up to the age of 12 must spend time at the local farms. That’s where the ‘class room’ learning happens nowadays.

9:30 am

Delivered breakfast meal to my elderly neighbors. I check up on their medications.

10:00 am

Quick shower, I’m headed to a specialty restaurant in the city centre.

3:00 pm

My delivery of fresh produce has arrived. Packaging is natural, compostable or washable. The labels are ‘smart’: they not only change colors to indicate freshness but indicate distance from the source.

4:15 pm

We visit the Fresh Greens, a unique farm managed by rural and tribal women.

We can now manage health of produce without use of artificial chemicals & farm quantities as per projected demands, reducing waste. I am helping them with data & analytics. As we grow our own food, we lose the concept of ‘ugly foods’, a source of huge wastage in the past.

7:30 pm

Video call with local rice farmers about efforts to revive old varieties & cultivate without pesticides - with help of natural anti-parasitic substances like ash & cow urine.

8:05 pm

Shruti calls. She is on her first out-of-state study tour. Talks of the visiting exchange students from Wageningen University. They are here to learn about our indigenous farming practices.

Environment | How will your food system of 2050 adapt to climate change and remain resilient?

In the year 2050, the global demand for food is expected to rise exponentially due to several factors due to growing global population, longer life expectancies and the changing demographic profile.

The availability of food is expected to decrease mainly due to climate change. In order to maintain an alignment between food production and consumption and decrease the negative effects of climate change, it is crucial to integrate agriculture and food supply issues with the knowledge of climate change. Traditional and time-tested climate-friendly approaches to agricultural production enhance the natural resource base. The “Eat Right India” Movement focuses on adoption of sustainable diets, i.e., food that is good for both - people and planet, to maintain a resilient food system in the future. Its key components include:

Eat local and seasonal

Emissions from the production and consumption of food come not only from its transport but also from the process of farming and energy consumption in food processing and retail. Our food choices play a crucial role in tackling climate change. As a result, marketing of plant-based local and seasonal foods, improving availability of meat substitutes and executing policies for advocating plant-based foods would help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions. Policies to encourage regional trade practices including streamlining the import-export process, aligning with global norms and facilitating healthier and sustainable food in trade by lowering taxes would be effectively implemented.

Reduce use of chemicals in food production and preservation

There is a direct correlation between nitrous oxide emissions and the amount of fertilizers used for crop cultivation. A transition to organic farming with a special focus on nutrient cycles, minimisation of ssions would help improve crop health significantly. Sensitising farmers about increasing soil health through policy interventions by the government to help regulate prices will build a climate-friendly food production system. To support sustainable food production, policies for judicious land and water use would be introduced such as limiting the land brought under water intensive cultivation, prescribing crops by region for maximum productivity, encouraging organic farming and biological solutions to control of pesticides and increased crop diversity.

 Reduce use of plastics in packaging

Food packaging is an important source of emissions. The kind of packaging used for foods is intrinsically linked to its transportation, storage and processing. To minimise greenhouse gas emissions, food should be packaged only when it helps reduce perishability. Shorter supply chains and an increased consumption of local and seasonal foods available closer to home and availability of facilities to consumers to recycle packaging, would help adapt to climate change.

Reduce use of water in food processing

Water is extensively used in most food plants as a processing aid and for clean-up and sanitizing. Conservation and reuse of water is necessary with increasing pressure on water resources. Waterless alternatives such as use of dry ice/vacuums are excellent alternatives to water for cleaning up. Process alternatives like dry milling to replace wet milling process; recirculate utilities such as steam and water for heating and cooling instead of just using once; processing equipment with superior materials of construction, improved design concepts and materials- help in handling water with greater efficiency. 

Reduce food waste    

By 2050, a majority of farmers in India would be engaged in organic farming using a wide variety of alternatives to chemical fertilizers to enrich soil. Drip irrigation and water harvesting would be mainstreamed and help India to achieve zero-water wastage. The production of crops will shift to millets that are now better known as nutri-cereal or smart crops, traditional food crops and regional grains as per local needs. The food industry would transform to accommodate small scale production units resulting in self-sustaining local economies with minimal environment consequences.

Further, policies are being made and will be in place to limit food loss along the food value chain, mandatory donation of surplus food, repurpose used cooking oil and incentives to consumers to recycle food through home-based or community-level practices. Artificial Intelligence based advisories for farmers with Precision Agriculture Research Network on Cyber Agro -physical systems linkages will help address the food losses and problem of plenty. By 2050, reduced food loss and waste can free several Mkm2 of land {IPCC}. Technical options such as improved harvesting techniques, on-farm storage, infrastructure, transport, packaging, retail and education will reduce food loss and waste across the supply chain.

 Annexures: 5TipsSustainableEating, HealthBefitsofLocalFreshProduce


Diets | How will your food system of 2050 address malnutrition in all its forms (undernutrition, micronutrient deficiency, metabolic disease) for the people living there?

India is home to some of the largest supplementary nutrition programmes that are targeted to the vulnerable sections of the population to combat various forms of malnutrition. These include the ICDS-Integrated Child Development Services for children aged 6 months to 6 years as well as pregnant and lactating mothers, the Mid-Day Meal programme for primary and secondary school children as well as PDS – Public Distribution System for subsidized food grains. The India envisioned in 2050 would not have wide income and health inequities thus rendering these services largely unnecessary. Instead, cashless transfers would replace feeding programmes and healthy and affordable food would be available to all. This would be achieved by economical and innovative methods of food production, local and seasonal consumption thereby reducing the cost and increasing availability of nutritious food to all sections of the population.

To address micronutrient deficiencies, the food system of 2050 would provide a variety of nutrient rich food to people such that they would easily be able to consume a balanced diet, thus preventing nutrient deficiencies. Food would be organically grown, largely unprocessed thus preserving nutrients. Diets, as a norm, would include a variety of local and seasonal fruits and vegetables, millets and a variety of indigenous whole grains that are easy and cheap to grow and provide the required nutrients for population within that region. Thus, micronutrients would be available to all in their natural forms as a result of improved food production and dietary patterns. If required, in certain regions, food fortification would be the ubiquitous strategy to provide any additional nutrients based on big data gathered about population health and nutrition.

For addressing under-nutrition and food security, reducing food loss and food waste along the food value chain and efficient food production is key. There is food loss at the primary food production stage, during storage and transportation due to improper facilities and practices, during manufacturing and retail due to wrong practices and methods of handling food. In the food system of 2050, these would be minimized as a result of efficient and effective food safety systems as per the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSS), 2006 by (i) Globally benchmarked standards (ii) Adequate and quality food-testing and (iii) Enforcement and surveillance. In addition, innovative organic farming practices, biological methods of pest control, technologically enhanced pest-resistant food crops, data sharing on crops and their health, vertical farms and other environmentally friendly methods of farming would all boost food production to meet the growing demands of the population and simultaneously reduce food loss at all stages of the food value chain.

As a result of good food production and consumption practices and availability of a large variety of regional, indigenous, local and seasonal foods that are also affordable, metabolic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases would reduce drastically. This is because these foods would suit the metabolic conditions of the people in that region.

Furthermore, industrial trans-fat would be completely eliminated and innovative methods to replace/minimize sugar and salt in commercially prepared food items would be utilized. Through large-scale social and behavioural change campaigns, the population at large would have improved dietary patterns resulting in changed taste palettes and preferences. Thus, the demand for foods high in salt, sugar and fat would naturally reduce and people would consume balanced diets. The food industry would provide and promote both healthy and tasty options as the norm, therefore, unhealthy foods would be largely eliminated from food choices. Of the choices that remain, empowering the public to make healthier food choices through strong marketing campaigns and nudges would keep their consumption low. Moreover, a revival of Ayurvedic practices, traditional healthy recipes and lifestyle changes would further promote the health of people at large.

Access to healthy, traditional, regional recipes available to everyone through technology, provision of nutrition information on food packets and food items through scanning a QR code on mobile devices would allow people to monitor and track their calorie and nutrient intake, thus making them informed and empowered consumers.

At the request of the Ministry of WCD the Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health’s India Research Center and BMGF had started documenting and evaluating the promising regional dietary practices and the messaging around them in 2020. As a result of this, a food atlas on regional agro-food systems was developed in 2021. This atlas helped hugely in dietary diversification efforts in the country and ensuring healthier diets.

Annexures: ReduceHFSSFilm, EatFortifiedFilm

Economics | Where and what will the jobs be that support living wages in your future food system of 2050, and how will these jobs impact gender equality?

Even though, pace of urbanization in India has been slower than other parts of the world, but the population residing in urban areas has continued to increase. Apart from natural growth of urban population, inter-state migration and rural-urban migration has contributed significantly to these figures. Close to 9 million people have been moving annually since 2011 to its cities, in search of livelihood opportunities. Total number of internal migrants in the country stood at staggering 240 million in 2020. Today all of this is ready to change.

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions have been rendered jobless overnight, and this has resulted in an unforeseen reverse mass migration to rural areas. Providing livelihood opportunities for these millions of migrants is now an immediate priority, with many states giving them need-based access to skill,credit, technology, and market access. More hands are unexpectedly available for agriculture and food production. There is a distinct possibility of a return to farming in a big way. Mono crop or single crop cultivation can be replaced by multi crop cultivation in the coming days. Variety of crop like millets, vegetables and pisciculture can be widely undertaken in place of paddy or wheat. 

The coming days could see an increasing focus on agriculture logistics and reforms in agri produce marketing to unlock the full potential of agriculture. These reforms will give options to farmers for choice of markets; they will removed inter-state trade barriers and provide lucrative e-trading opportunities. Greater focus in the future will be given to multi-modal agriculture logistics that optimize cost and introduced efficiencies and reduce wastage. Electronic National Agriculture Market (eNAMs), Kisan Rath- an app-based truck sharing aggregator has been created, Kisan Rail (in PPP mode)-  Special trains for agricultural produce and Krishi Udan- special cargo planes to transport agricultural produce across the world are rapidly changing the landscape. A focus on agriculture export will help diversify the export basket including value-added agricultural produce, high value perishables and organic foods.

Infrastructure for storage, with an emphasis on temperature-controlled storage for perishables has beencreated strategically near farms, as well as, at key transport points such as ports, airports and rail terminals. In 2019, India was the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world with fruit production of 92 MT and vegetable production of 178 MT. At that point, wastage in fruits was around 25-30%, mainly driven by the limited availability of cold chain infrastructure at the right locations. New age start-ups and cold chain players are working on cost effective micro cold storage technologies, and reinventing cost effective packaging for fruits, vegetables and marine products. Food processing and serving ecosystem, where farm produce are tracked digitally ensuring full traceability, have been set up (with smart packaging & labels). Industries are localised, with a focus on creating a sustainable environment. Small and medium sized food businesses or self-help groups or farmers organizations, strengthened with finance, equipment, idea and market now give every producer or processor, at local level, to be a part of the world market. The entire system has been built on the idea 'of the people, by the people and for the people'.

The shift back to prosperous agriculture will ensure that by 2050, village communities are prosperous and there is no migration towards towns or cities. Growth of local economies are majorly driven by female workforce, and it will definitely impact community level development, bridging the gender gap and promoting equitable economic growth.

Culture | How will your 2050 food system ensure that the cultural, spiritual and community traditions and/or practices in your Place flourish?

Over the last 50 years we have lost our connection with traditional wisdom, cultural and spiritual practices, due to geographical displacement and hyper globalisation. As families have migrated from smaller towns to bigger cities our lives have become more fragmented, isolated and nuclear, losing in the process an integrative and holistic approach to life. Globalization and a flooding of cosmopolitan food culture, involve long and expensive supply chains. Homogeneous food groups cannibalised the local diversity of indigenous cultures. Over the next few decades as people moving back into town and villages and into smaller and tight knit communities, we can revive our cultural practices, especially our community eating and festival centric celebrations. Rediscovering the natural rhythm of what nature produces seasonally and locally and align our bodies to it would be one of the prime aims of our vision for 2050.

Ayurveda remains the guiding light on the wisdom of the food system since time immemorial for the Indian culture. It covers every aspect of food, from farming techniques to food as medicine, to ritualistic offering to the Divine, to food for pleasure and optimum health and well-being. The ancient treatise recommends food types according to the key constitutional profiles of individuals in the greatest detail, making it both unique and invaluable for highly personalized health and wellbeing for its practitioners. 

As a science of life, Ayurveda recognizes the earth as one whole living organism. As a treatise to the secret for a long, healthy and happy life, Ayurveda explores food as nourishment, health, medicine, celebration and social connection. All our joys, moods, festivities, connection to people, places and memories are encoded through rituals, festivals and our diverse local traditional recipes. A future in conscious and mindful consumption of food can recall this vast and rich repository of encoded memory back into our present lives and project it into the future. 

A rejuvenation of traditional culture emerging from Ayurveda and ancient texts is expected over the next few decades. The food culture of 2050 will be largely reversed to become traditional, indigenous and aligned with India’s ancient wisdom of Ayurveda and Naturopathy. There will be a greater shift towards regional dietary practices informed by well-researched food atlas on India’s indigenous local food diets and regional agro-food systems. 

A number of initiatives are being adopted under the Eat Right India movement to ensure healthy and mindful eating habits, the revival of local cooking practices and cuisines based on indigenous food grains and seasonal vegetables. People are expected to make more healthful food choices, be more thoughtful about what goes onto their plates and develop a deeper connect with what they put into their bodies. This involves large scale social behavioural change of people to nudge them to make healthy food choices, reduce consumption of high amounts of salt, sugar and fat and diversify their diet to include seasonal and local fruits and vegetables. 

An important segment on Indian food culture is the place of worship which also serves food. Each temple in India has its own menu based on ancient Ayurveda and healthier techniques of cooking which leaves you feeling nourished and satiated, without feeling heavy. Project BHOG (Blissful Hygienic Offering to God) has been initiated which would cover all places of worship in the future to ensure safety and hygiene in food preparation and service.

Annexures: YouAreWhatYouEat, EatRightPrakriti

Technology | What technological advances are needed to transform your food system into one that meets your goals and embodies the values of your Vision in 2050?

Emerging technologies across the spectrum, from biotechnology to big data, internet of things, block-chain, agricultural biotechnology, and artificial intelligence have the potential to transform the food landscape from farm to fork.

Data gathered from farms and food distribution networks would enable better traceability of food and quantification of the impact on the ecosystem. Big data from agricultural lands on infestations, weather changes, potential hazards would help protect crops by forecasting potential hazards in time. An integrated system of online consultation by agricultural experts for farmers across the country would help address the health of crops through biological methods of pest control and natural fertilizers. Strategies tailored to regions depending on climate-smart agricultural techniques would be in place to address specific risks. This would prevent food waste and increase food production to meet the growing demands of the population while maintaining largely organic farming. Micro-irrigation technologies and Community irrigation facilities such as water user groups for farmers would help reduce the overuse of water and promote the judicious use of water resources. More utilization of 7517 km of Indian coastline for food crops using technologies like sea cage farming.

In addition technological advances that are particularly important for India include drought-and pest-resistant varieties of staple crops, economically viable technologies for crop management and harvesting, solar-enabled preservation facilities for agricultural yield, technological interventions and financial instruments to guarantee fair pricing to farmers, centres for preserving diverse varieties of local crops, vegetables, and plants and alternative protein sources for meat-based products, food rooted in traditional ethno-medicinal systems such as Ayurveda, agri-biotechnology and tourism. Algae as a basis of the plant foods, in-vitro or lab-grown meat would gain widespread consumer acceptance and is expected to be available at a commercial level.

Along the food value chain, food testing would be revolutionized by an integrated online system laboratories that would enable quick, easy and transparent testing and tracking of food samples across the country. Technological advances in innovative storage methods such as cold storage would keep foods fresh and preserve their nutrient value without use of chemicals that harm the environment and the quality of food. Moreover, it would prevent wastage of food. Since local and seasonal consumption would be the dominant pattern of consumption transportation of food and its resultant harmful effects on the environment would be drastically reduced. However, in case transportation is required, technology would enable safe, quick and easy transport of food, particularly in emergency situations such as floods, drought or famine.

The food processing industry would also be revolutionized. Bio-compostable/washable packaging with moisture and temperature controlled transport boxes, with Smart labels, Nutrition and Freshness probes, would become the norm. There would be innovative environment friendly options for packaging of food and beverages. Information on any food item would be available by scanning a QR code on the food packed by a mobile phone or device. Thus, complicated food labels would be replaced by artificial intelligence enabled “Food Guru” that would provide all information about the food instantly including its nutrient value, calories, expiry date etc. This would be a two-way data gathering facility wherein consumer data would be used for tracking food trends and preferences to prepare customized food via 3-D printers by 2050 as well as study consumption patterns for research and monitoring purposes.

On the consumer-front, big data gathered through smartphones and body wearable devices would provide personalized information to monitor diet-linked health parameters. The concept of the “personalized diet” for every individual would come to fruition. This would include personalized shopping recommendations, menu recommendations in restaurants, hotels and workplaces, and personalized monitoring of nutrient intake which would help safeguard health. Cloud-kitchens would be monitored through a strict policy and regulatory framework. Data repositories on all aspects food, encompassing traditional recipes, taste/flavour, nutrition, and health accessible to all would enable healthy cooking at home.

An enabling environment for entrepreneurial ventures; creating a healthy, competitive environment targeted at delivering envisioned solutions; engaging key stakeholders in creating food safety solutions (food companies, restaurants, cloud-kitchens; street vendors; aggregators and people at large, especially children) and online training facilities would be especially useful in helping the current workforce to transition into the new technology-powered food future.

Policy | What types of policies are needed to enable your future food system?

All people, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, should have access to safe and nutritious food, which is fundamental to sustaining life with human dignity. India is suffering from the double burden of under-nutrition and obesity, widespread micronutrient deficiencies, increase in foodborne illnesses and NCD-related mortality make it imperative to address the problem with a sense of urgency.  Major flagship programmes like Integrated Child Development Services, Mid-Day Meal (School meals) and Public Distribution System are the largest programmes implemented in India and nowhere else in the world, provide supplementary nutrition to the needy. Presently, 70 per cent of the population of India is being provided food staples at a subsidized rate. The need for innovative policies to break barriers, promote research and rethink development activities in the areas of provision of safe food, wholesome nutrition and sustainable technologies for food production, storage, value addition and packaging is of prime importance. Decentralization is the key to successful policy decisions for the future to ensure food security.  With strong technological infrastructure in place like a nationwide biometric system, cash transfer schemes, bank accounts for all etc., we can attain the SGD of food for all. The nation’s scheme One Nation, One Ration Card is a step towards the right direction. The vision for the future requires impactful policies to be implemented today.  Policies enabling equitable development and poverty alleviation will remove the need for food safety nets, affordability will no longer be an issue and undernutrition will not be a public health problem. To take the winning leap we must look at a multipronged approach as envisioned by Eat Right India, engaging and enabling various stakeholders to jointly help implementation.

Policies targeting reduction in food borne disease outbreaks would focus on improving hygiene and sanitation, training and capacity building of food handlers, better surveillance and reporting of outbreaks, improving traceability and ensuring food recall in case of any imminent danger to the public. Policies which incentivize and encourage reduction of fat, salt and sugar, and elimination of trans fat in food products by the food industry as well as discourage their consumption at home, in school, at the workplace and when we eat out, will go a long way in reducing prevalence of diet-related chronic degenerative diseases. Health and nutrition education from early childhood will make children effective change agents and they will help transform the home food environment. A strong education policy would support citizens to develop as mindful and responsible consumers. It would discourage unhealthy eating practices and awaken health consciousness among the masses.

IT applications for farmers with integrated databases and weather and crop related advisories will go a long way in risk mitigation. Policies encouraging bio-fortified crops and use of fortified food will help in reducing the burden of micronutrient deficiencies. Nutrition sensitive agriculture needs to become the norm as does the effort of the food industry to produce nutrient dense, healthy food products. Policies which promote use of local, seasonal produce, energy efficient solutions and reduction in carbon footprints of all related activities will also ensure sustainable local food systems. These will also help preserve biodiversity and traditional crops and hence promote diet diversity. Tackling climate change is a vital step to ensure this as is policies enabling sustainable use of water and prevention of soil degradation. In addition, policies promoting rapid technological advancements but at the same time incentivizing sustainability will help agricultural production systems.

Reducing food waste is an important agenda for which appropriate policies need to be in place for tackling sectoral challenges. Moving processing units closer to farms, creating a secure transport chain will help in ensuring that farmers get their due for adopting nutrition driven agriculture. The potential of animal husbandry is as yet unrealized. It offers a return of Rs 4.7 on every rupee invested (FAO, 2011) as compared to Rs 3.6 by growing crops. Giving incentives to communities to strengthen local food supply chains of foods from animal sources will improve diet quality.

Annexure: SMART

Describe how these 6 Themes connect with and influence one another in your food system.

 All six themes – environment, diets, policy, economics, culture and technology are interconnected. Unsustainable agricultural and animal husbandry practices have led to soil degradation and environmental pollution. Global warming is attributed to methane emissions from cattle, while climate change is threatening crops. A rising population calls for a revamp of our food production and processing practices. This involves reduction of food loss and waste along the food value chain through improved storage, transportation and processing at the production level and food donation at the commercial and household level.

Policies will promote local and seasonal foods, improve nutrient availability for the local population providing them with diverse food choices, reduce the carbon footprint and make food systems environment friendly. Adopting low cost traditional technology for cultivating indigenous foods viz. whole grains, fruits, vegetables, spices, etc. is sustainable. Moreover, revival of traditional foods, particularly in the context of the ancient science of Ayurveda, is helpful for better nutrition. It taps the hidden wisdom of ideal food combinations which improve nutrient absorption. For instance, ‘golden milk’ (milk made with curcumin-rich turmeric) for boosting immunity and reducing inflammation along with black pepper which improves its absorption. 

Leveraging technology is critical for introducing innovative measures for cultivation, food production (using biological methods of pest control and improving soil fertility), improved processing technology, collecting data on nutrient profiles of vulnerable sections of the population to monitor their health and real time data monitoring and surveillance for all forms of malnutrition, diet-related chronic diseases as well as foodborne diseases, predictive microbiology and blockchain technology for ensuring food safety and traceability. Thus, technology permeates all aspects of the food system.

The new food system promotes healthy diets, local and seasonal foods leveraging technology. Employment opportunities in new sectors, particularly for women with home-based occupations promoting rural economies. To make these measures function in tandem, a robust overarching policy framework is required for environment friendly practices, reduction of salt, fat, sugar in foods, diets with fortified foods, ensuring gender equality in the job market and mass awareness campaigns.

Describe any trade-offs you may have to make within your system to attain your Vision by 2050.

The ‘Eat Right India’ movement is designed to drive change in the area of safe food and healthy diets. A positive shift in demand is the key to sustainable transition towards safe, healthy and sustainable diets.

One of the biggest challenges in ensuring food safety and hygiene is posed by the huge number of food businesses in the unorganised sector, ranging from street food vendors, fruit and vegetable markets, meat and sweet shops and even restaurants and caterers. However, with the advent of various regulations that will ensure safe and wholesome nutrition for all and strengthening other food safety regulations in a holistic manner, encouraging environment of self-compliance, the food industry can look at building capacities, limiting resources and moving towards a culture of responsibility to their nation and the world. This transition has an economic cost. For instance, preventing the flow of used cooking oil in the food system and its repurpose as bio-diesel/soap may mean increasing burden of importing palm oil to meet the existing demand from small food vendors.

For covering the scale of healthcare for the entire country, a pragmatic approach must be taken. Financial outlays and budgeting are one of the major tradeoffs that will need to be taken into consideration. A progressive analysis of various programmes must take a cost-benefit view of programs that works toward better health of the people versus the ones that work on subsequent patient care.

India's need to feed its soaring population meant a strong dependence on high-yielding crop varieties that heavily depended on chemical fertilisers and pesticides. The shift back to traditional organic farming comes with several trade-offs like lower yields, non-realisation of premium and vulnerability of crops to weeds and nitrogen deficiencies (during the conversion period). Hence budgetary supports are critical for farmers in their initial years of production.

We seek to bring back millets and certain local foods which had disappeared from dietaries back into kitchens and people’s plates. Care will need to be taken that there are no tradeoffs in taste, satiety and overall consumer satisfaction otherwise changes envisioned will not be sustainable. The consumer needs to be clear about how to make healthy food choices from the basket of traditional foods and letting go of existing ideas of perfect and good-looking fruits and vegetables.

3 Years | Describe 3 key milestones that you would need to achieve within the next three years for your Vision to be on track?

Eat Right India would also contribute towards healthy diets and sustainable development goals (SDGs) which are linked directly or indirectly to the food system. The three key milestones that to be completed are:

1. FSSAI has begun various projects which will help the food industry to become organized businesses and adopt policies and practices in support of the stated vision of safe food for all. For this a wider outreach to the food business spectrum is needed in the next three years. The focus is to strengthen food safety through science-based, robust and high-quality standards at par with global benchmarks, effective enforcement drives and efficient (or risk-based) compliance checks through judicious as well as innovative use of resources. This would include ensuring all food businesses have license/registration, conducting periodic risk-based inspections and/or third-party audits, conducting robust checks on imported food and adopting integrated risk-based approach across the food value chain.

2. Robust partnerships with stakeholder organizations are the key to effective implementation. Foster organic growth of networks by increasing partnership with like- minded people and associations for social behavioural change and awareness among citizens.

3. Comprehensive integration of policies and activities of relevant government departments/agencies in the context of a food systems approach for the impact of the policies to be felt in the field. The next three years should see intensive efforts made towards convergence.

10 Years | What progress will you need to make—by 2030—that would set your Vision up to become a reality by 2050?

What is needed is a facilitation from efforts like - improved infrastructure and access to safe food to the people. But given the size, spread and complexity of India, where a large proportion of the food businesses are in the unorganised sector, assuring safe and nutritious food to 1.35 billion citizens needs the participation of every stakeholder, and traditional regulatory tools alone cannot achieve this. 

Eat Right India is a people’s movement. The movement is propagated through awareness and capacity building programs. The idea is to educate and inform the citizens on the one hand, and train and build capacities of Food handlers on the other, to nudge social and behavioural change towards a safe and wholesome food culture. Specifically, the progress in the following needs to be achieved in the next 10 years to achieve FSSAI’s Vision in 2050:

  • Increase in registration and licensing of food businesses, training and capacity building of food handlers to enable them to serve safe food.
  • Adequate laboratories and latest technology for monitoring quality of food in the country.
  • Elimination of trans fat from food products and reduction in levels of fat, sugar and salt by the food industry.
  • Increase in region specific agriculture and improved availability of fortified staples.
  • The food industry is already innovating environment friendly packaging that will reduce the carbon footprints.
  • Increased consumer awareness about eating safe, eating healthy and sustainable diets.

To achieve all of this collaboration of the private sector is a must. Food and non-food industry must all work in tandem with the government to bring about the change.

If awarded the $200,000 prize what would you do with it?

The Award money would be used to sharpen the food system vision 2050 and support its implementation through various stakeholders. This would be done by building communities in support Eat Right India movement aligned with Vision 2050 in two ways. First by learning from experiences from around the world and secondly by learning from innovative work being done at the grass roots level and at scale within the country.

Several innovative institutional arrangements have come up under the Eat Right movement. A Centre for Food, Planet and Health has been set up at the LBS National Academy of Administration for building capacity of policymakers and administrators. Several networks like with the professionals of food and nutrition, consumer organisations, scientists and experts, higher education institutions, farmers and youth have been created. These innovative institutional arrangements would also be mobilised to enhance outreach of the vision 2050.  

This money would be used to sharpen the food system vision 2050 and facilitate its implementation. An annual Eat Right: Food System Vision 2050 could possibly be organised for discussion and dialogue, recognition and reward around the food system vision 2050. 

If you are chosen as a Top Visionary, The Rockefeller Foundation would like to share your Vision widely with a global audience. What would you like the world to learn from your Vision for 2050?

Over the past 4 years, India’s Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is leading a peoples’ movement for safer, healthier and sustainable diets. It is supported by government at various levels, science and research institutions, food businesses, professionals of food and nutrition, consumer organizations, schools and higher education institutions.  

The Eat Right India movement envisions to transform the country’s food environment through a systems approach. It combines regulatory action with at-scale supportive activities. Many of the activities have organically grown outside the direct control of the Regulator and have become a 'people's movement'. 

It has been endorsed by international food systems and global food safety experts. This envisioning journey from farm to field that we aspire to see in the year 2050 based on the ongoing work of FSSAI is what we would like to showcase to the world. FSSAI has experimented in this journey through its unique ‘whole of government’ and ‘whole of society’ approach, embedded in its vision. This unique approach under Eat Right India was showcased to 25 countries at the World Bank’s Lighthouse event and WHO-SEARO side-event in September, 2019.  

The World Bank has also undertaken a systematic study of the Eat Right India movement. 

Please share a visual that communicates the structure and operation of your food system in 2050. Describe the visual.

Please refer to Images 1-5  above and Annexure: ERI Visual Film

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Attachments (31)


The FULL VISION 2050: Eat Right India

Cocoa Life Program - Mondelez India.pdf

FULL VISION: Case Study 1


FULL VISION: Case Study 2

Reduce HFSS Film.mp4

A short film on how to reduce foods high in salt, sugar and fat for bringing about behavior change in citizens


A short film on promoting fortified foods with +F logo among consumers


A film that communicates the structure and operation of your food system in 2050.

Gandhi Film.mp4

Annexure 1: Gandhi JI: Inspiration behind Eat Right India


Annexure 2: A movie on the largest cyclothon for public health in India: Swasth Bharat Yatra

SBY Report- CoffeeTableBook copy.pdf

Annexure 3: Coffee table book on the largest cyclothon for public health in India called 'Swasth Bharat Yatra'

Eat Right Mela.mp4

Annexure 4: Eat Right Mela: A street food festival to promote eating right

Eat Right India_Lighthouse2019.mp4

Annexure 5b: Global food safety experts talk about the Eat Right India movement

WHO Director on ERI Media Interaction.mp4

Annexure 6: Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region on Eat Right India

Endorsements to Eat Right India from International fraternity.docx

Annexure 7: Endorsements by International Fraternity

With the Eat Right India Movement, We Seek to Secure a Healthy Future.pdf

Annexure 8: An opinion piece by CEO,FSSAI talking about the impact of Eat Right India

Why We Need to Revisit the National Nutrition Strategy_Indian Express_28Dec.pdf

Annexure 9: An opinion piece by the CEO, FSSAI featured in a national daily describing why India needs a national nutrition intervention and how FSSAI is working to address the same

Eat Right Bookmark Design 1.pdf

Eat Right India: The logo and key themes

Eat Right Bookmark Design 2.pdf

Eat Right India: One Goal Many Roles

Mascot Movie copy.mp4

A movie on the Mascots of the Eat Right India movement -Master and Miss Sehat


A movie showcasing the 'Eat Right India' movement.

ERI Logo ppt copy.mp4

A short film on the explanation of the logo of the Eat Right India movement.

Eat Right_World bank_Lighthouse.pdf

Annexure 5a: A brochure on the World Bank's Lighthouse event to showcase the Eat Right India movement.

Eat Right Book Finally complete v2.pdf

A book describing the vision, mission and programmes under the Eat Right India movement and its various components.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Gautam Chaturvedi

Congratulations to the entire team at Eat Right India... Specially Mr Pawan Agarwal

Photo of Rene Shahmohamadloo

Congratulations for reaching Finals! We are very proud of the Selection Committee's choice and look forward to seeing how each Finalist will transform their region. We wish you our very best.

Kind regards,
René Sahba Shahmohamadloo

FSVP Semi-Finalist, Envisioning a food system based on truly integrative agricultural practices for 2050

Photo of Itika Gupta

Hi Pawan Agarwal  congratulations on putting together such an ambitious Vision that works on a national level yet is a clear and cohesive one. How might you use your time of refinement, to detail out the Vision addressing the feasibility of some key ideas like supporting sustainable food production policies related to judicious land and water use for agricultural production?

Photo of Pawan Agarwal

Sorry, Itika...I have in the middle of a job change. I moved from FSSAI to another role in the government that required coordination on logistics and supply chain management at the nation level for COVID-19 pandemic, therefore could not respond earlier. We had full team meeting today with our collaborators for our final submission. With this change, even though I will continue to be associated, the lead applicant will be a colleague still at FSSAI. Thanks you very much...

Photo of Itika Gupta

Hi Pawan Agarwal . Glad to hear you successfully wrapped up your collaborators meet for the final submission. Thanks a ton for this update on the change of lead applicant. We've dropped you an email to discuss the lead applicant change and its process. Please have a look at it as respond as early as possible for you.

Good luck with the submission

Photo of Kanupriya  Agarwal, MD

Hello Pawan Agarwal  ji, many congratulations on being a semi-finalist!! It is heartening to know about the stepped toward progress for India.

I’m a physician entrepreneur in New York, working in digital health, and member of WHO Digital health committee.

I’d love to be if any help to this vision and project. What is a good way to contact you? Thanks

Kanupriya Agarwal, MD

Photo of Kanupriya  Agarwal, MD

Hello Pawan Agarwal ji, just wanted to touch base again on your project - this is a cause that has been close to my heart since childhood and it would be great to be involved.. I know two individuals who are doing community level work in food (UP and Mumbai), also philanthropists whom I would like to connect you with. Please let me know how can I reach you? Thanks very much, Kanupriya

Photo of Itika Gupta

Reading through the Refinement Visions, I came across other Visionary teams from India. Incase you havn't already, connecting you all Salma Umme Pawan Agarwal Anu Sridharan Kanika Khanna Satyarupa Shekhar Shubham Karchaudhuri  so you can provide some feedback on one another’s Vision submissions from the context of your region's most pressing challenges in the present and future.
Happy connecting!

Photo of Mat Jones

Hi Pawan,
Great to see the breadth of your vision - truly smaranaarth. I was very interesting to see your section on big/open data - a matter that is alos a focus for our vision in Lagos Nigeria. I guess a key issue is how we best engage and enthuse citizens in what the food information revolution has to offer - given that knowledge about the food system is not simply a matter for the technocrats.

I'm also interested in how your vision might be linked to cultural transformations. The connection to Ayurvedic traditions is a fascinating idea. I wonder how this plays out as India becomes increasingly pluralist and multi-faith in the 21st century?

Best wishes,

Photo of Pawan Agarwal

Yes, very interesting point about Ayurveda...

Photo of Itika Gupta

Dear Pawan Agarwal  , Congratulations on being shortlisted as a Semi-Finalist. Welcome to Refinement!

Through refinement, we'd like to see the details in the broad strokes of the Vision you painted for your region.
How might you bring your Vision into sharper focus through:
1. Building partnerships and forming a systemic and multi-disciplinary Vision Team
2. Visualising your future food system to help people see and feel the future of their food system
3. Assessing the feasibility of your future food system to better anticipate its needs and challenges

We invite you to take full advantage of the open platform here – to tag in team members into your Vision, connect with other Refinement teams, and solicit feedback from participants around the world.

It’s great to continue with you into this next phase. Consider me your support for questions you might have while on this platform.

Looking forward to seeing a detailed and Refined Vision for your region in the coming weeks.

Photo of Kanika Khanna

Dear Pawan Agarwal ji,

It is great to see this initiative from FSSAI being shortlisted.
Our vision for growing produce year round in Ladakh has also been shortlisted. It would be very interesting if we can meet and discuss ways to collaborate.

Looking forward to your reply-

Kanika Khanna

Do have a look at our vision- Tradition meets modernity: Connecting digital tools with agroecological food production methods to empower Local as sustainable food system 

Photo of Pawan Agarwal

Hello! Bindu,
This is very very interesting. FSSAI would love to work with you.
You can reach out to me on my mobile no. 9810806606.


Photo of Jun Suto

Wow, Pawan Agarwal ! you are audacious to target the entire country of India! I guess it comes with your territory. If you were to do a proof of concept, where would you choose and how would you implement? What do you think of resiliency and anti-fragility?

Photo of Pawan Agarwal

Thank you, Jun Suto for very valid points you have raised. As CEO of India's apex food authority, my organization is responsible for the entire country. While, our primary mandate is food safety, but we have consciously added nutrition and sustainability agenda to our efforts. Eat right India lead by FSSAI is currently in the third year of its implementation. Most of the initiatives touch micro-environments with in the country's overall food ecosystem and hence resiliency and anti-fragility are inbuilt. I would strongly recommend that that you see the film on Eat right India that will give you a sense of scale and scope of the ongoing Eat right India movement. We also work with a wide range of stakeholders. I would appreciate further comments and guidance to improve our submission. Thanks again.

Photo of Thu Nguyen

Hi Pawan Agarwal 

Welcome to the Food System Vision Prize Community :)

Thank you for sharing your amazing Vision about the food system in 2050. You and your team have done a great work!

Here are some tips and questions that could help you build your Vision stronger:

- I see that you have selected the whole country India for your Vision. We suggest the place should be less than 100,000km2. If your place is too large, your Vision will likely be too generic. Limiting the size of your place will help your team develop a Vision that’s unique to the Place and the People who live there. If you still feel you like to address the Vision region for more than 100,000km2, you should provide compelling reasons to justify it in “Your Selected Place” question.

- We encourage you to learn more about the needs, aspirations, motivations, and challenges of the place and its people and bring the top insights together to your Vision. You can find some inspiration and tools to help you with your research in the Vision Prize Toolkit in Chapter 2 under Tools of Transformation:

- One of the most promising resources that can help you make a disruptive yet feasible Vision is data. We’ve put together a wide range of resources and websites that can help you pull out data relevant to your context and Vision. You can find them here:

The recording of System Thinking webinar might be helpful for you too:

Look forward to seeing your Vision evolve through the coming weeks.

Photo of Pawan Agarwal

Thank you, Thu Nguyen...
Your suggestions have been extremely useful. For reasons that this application is on behalf of India's food authority, full country is covered. The vision is not generic but in the context of the country. This would obviously be further refined in due course. Pawan Agarwal