LabelBlind®, India’s first food rating system today announced the launch of the India Protein Score, a report that highlights protein content in prepackaged foods and recognizes them as top protein rich prepackaged foods available in the country, to help citizens exercise their Right To Protein this Nutrition Month.
This first-of-its kind report is designed to guide consumers in making informed food choices based on the protein values of commonly purchased food and beverage products. Nutrition labels of over 1789 food & beverage products from 150 brands across 18 categories ranging from health food drinks, energy bars, dairy to regular snacks have been given ratings based on their contribution to the Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA) of protein as established by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
This easy-to-follow report can be downloaded by consumers as a handy guide to identify high protein food products available in the market.
The India Protein Score has been developed in collaboration with Right To Protein, a nationwide public health awareness initiative, as one possible solution to the barriers to protein consumption outlined in The Protein Paradox study launched earlier this year.
This study, conducted by Right To Protein with commissioned research agency Nielsen, revealed that most Indian mothers (the food purchase decision markers of most households) do not know their key sources of protein.
During the study, majority mothers (81 per cent) were unable to correctly identify protein rich foods presented to them, and instead, incorrectly believed that the basic Indian diet consisting of just roti, dal and rice is enough to meet her family’s daily protein needs. As a result, Indian households hold back protein intake to a pinch with basic staples, as most protein sources remain unidentifiable.
“The India Protein Paradox study found that majority Indian households can identify only 3 out of 11 protein-rich food items shown to them. We figured this can be because consumers often struggle to comprehend the nutritional content present on the labels of the prepackaged food items due to its technicality,” says Rashida Vapiwala, founder, LabelBlind®.
“This is particularly pronounced for protein consumption in India, where protein-rich foods tend to be overlooked by consumers due lack of knowledge and understanding. So we developed the Indian Protein Score to equip Indian citizens with a tool that allows them to make better choices to meet their daily protein requirements,” she adds.
Consumers may refer to the India Protein Score to purchase protein rich prepackaged food products from commonly consumed categories like whole grains, atta, savory snacks, dairy and dairy products, soy products, ready-to-eat meals, bread, breakfast cereals and nut butters among others.
To develop the India Protein Score, LabelBlind® studied the nutrition data of over 6,100 prepackaged food & beverage products using its proprietary assessment tool, making it one of the most comprehensive studies on this subject. Using information declared on the food labels, products were rated on their Protein content along with their Fat, Sodium, Added Sugar values on a scale of 1 to 5.
This assessment by LabelBlind® is based on the nutrient labelling guidelines of FSSAI, WHO, USFDA and ICMR, of protein content of foods qualified to be ‘Source of Protein’ or ‘High in Protein’ (FSSAI Advertising & Labelling Regulations, 2018).
As per the ICMR, an average adult requires about 0.8 – 1.0 gram per kg of body weight of protein. The norm in urban areas is 50g of protein per day while in rural areas the norm is 48g of protein per day. This also evidenced in past studies that acknowledge the existence of declining protein intake (Source: NSSO) and protein deficiency in India (Source: IMRB).
Therefore, the Right To Protein initiative’s collaboration with LabelBlind® to release the India Protein Score is a step forward to developing sustainable solutions to educate the consumers on the importance of protein, champion its sufficiency and trigger a long-term behavior change among citizens.