Speaking as part of World Health Day (7 April), CLFMA chairman B Soundararajan revealed that India was in the middle of an “exciting demographic and economic transformation”, with food consumption patterns and preferences evolving faster than previous decades.
However, Soundararajan stressed the importance of improving health within the Indian community, with over 63m people diagnosed with diabetes and one in five children being malnourished.
“Recent media campaigns propagating false claims on the health and safety aspects of meat appear to be driven by vested interests and by those who have no idea about the ground realities in terms of socio-economic and malnutrition aspects,” said Soundararajan
“It’s time for us to focus on health and nutrition and make animal protein more affordable to the consumers.”
But he revealed that demand for protein was significantly increasing and only 3-5% of the chicken meat consumed in India was processed.
“Health through food is the mantra for today’s consumers and they want health without compromising on taste or other sensory attributes in food,” said Soundararajan. “I am optimistic about the poultry sector’s growth, but it is extremely critical for the Indian meat industry to maintain its growth and strengthen its competitiveness in the coming years.”
A public row between non-governmental organisations and India’s poultry council last month (March) broke out over antibiotic use in chicken. The All India Poultry Development and Services was angered by public statements made by the Mobius Foundation that eating antibiotic-dosed chicken is hazardous to health, especially for children.