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UN’s Sustainable Development Goals to Drive Discussions at 3rd Tasting India Symposium

A Global Food Policy Advocacy Initiative, Tasting India: Eat Right is Supported by NITI Aayog, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, !ncredible India, The Nordics (Nordic Council of Ministers), Nordic Food Policy Lab, SDG2 Advocacy Hub, India International Centre, Sweden Foodtech and Basque Culinary Centre
FOR THE first time in the country, one platform will bring together experts from around the world to discuss ways to actualise the United Nations Sustainability Goals using the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India-FSSAI’s Eat Right Movement and the ground-breaking Nordic Solutions Menu as the implementation template to make the 2030 deadline set by the world body a reality — and not just another pipe dream.
The third season of the Tasting India Symposium, a global food advocacy initiative inaugurated on February 28, 2017, by the NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant and the Director-General of the Centre for Science and Environment, Dr Sunita Narain, will open this year on December 13 with a food policy workshop conducted by the Nordic Food Policy Lab at the FSSAI headquarters in New Delhi.

The objective of the Nordic Food Policy Lab, which was launched last year by the prime ministers of Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Iceland, is to work in global partnerships, curating and disseminating examples of Nordic food policy for health and sustainability. The initiative specifically focuses on innovative, close-to-the-consumer policies that have a potential to shift food demand patterns, steering the food system in a more sustainable direction in line with Agenda 2030. The Lab will be represented by its Leader, Mads Frederik Fischer-Møller, who’s also Senior Adviser for Food Policy to the Nordic Council of Ministers.

With the national food regulator, which has become very proactive under the leadership of its CEO, Mr. Pawan Agarwal, IAS, the Lab will share the innovative policies adopted by Nordic countries to encourage consumers to choose safe food and a healthy diet. The FSSAI will use this opportunity to showcase its Eat Right Movement and what it can teach the world.

Parallel to these deliberations at a policy level, the London-based SDG2 Advocacy Hub, which is supported by the World Food Programme, Save the Children International and MasterCard, will engage with the Young Chefs Association for a Sustainable India to work out an implementation strategy for its global Chefs Manifesto initiative.
The Hub’s activities at the Tasting India Symposium, conducted by its global coordinator, Paul Newnham, will culminate on December 16 with a workshop for young chefs, who’ll gather at the scenic Tijara Organic Farm in Alwar, Rajasthan, to discuss strategies to seamlessly implement the United Nations SDG2, which calls upon nations to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture by 2030, in the food and hospitality sectors.

In sync with the Symposium’s overarching concern for sustainable agriculture, safe food and healthy diets, expressed in the Indian Food Manifesto, which it adopted last year, a major highlight of its 2018 programme will be the Eat Right Food Innovation Awards. To be presented at a glittering ceremony on December 14, the Awards will be steered by the FSSAI and recognise both startups and established companies for technology-enabled solutions in four critical categories: Healthy Food Products; Healthy Food Services; Food Testing; and Food Social Enterprise.
The award winners will be selected after two levels of scrutiny by juries comprising eminent people. Startups shortlisted for the awards — three per category — will be invited to attend a boot camp at the National Institute of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) to help them understand the regulatory ecosystem and connect with ‘buddies’ who will help them navigate the business and connect with government departments. Only after they are exposed to the boot camp will they be able to make a pitch to the jury.

The original objective of the Tasting India Symposium was to position India as a gastronomic tourism destination to attract a new generation of international travellers who are looking for life experiences more than dipping into the cultural heritage of the countries they visit.
As a mark of their commitment to this goal, the Symposium’s founders — Stockholm-based Make in India evangelist Sanjoo Malhotra and food writer and blogger Sourish Bhattcharyya — will present the first-ever Citizens’ White Paper on Gastronomic Tourism to the Ministry of Tourism, which is one of the partners of the Tasting India Symposium.

Based on a year of research and consultations with individuals engaged in Gastronomic Tourism, the White Paper will make a strong case for a National Policy to recognise the scattered individual efforts, establish regulatory standards for them, and develop a publicly accessible central database of companies providing services in this vertical, which is recognised by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation as an important generator of revenues and employment, especially for women.
The Tasting India Symposium’s objective is to bring all the links of the food chain together and get the diverse stakeholders speaking in a unified voice for the greater good of humanity. With the third season, the Symposium is a step closer to its stated ambition of becoming a global platform committed to finding solutions to the enduring twin problems of hunger and planet-unfriendly agricultural practices.

THE CO-FOUNDERS

Sourish Bhattacharyya, a leading food journalist with a 32-year track record in the profession, has held senior positions at the India Today Group, Hindustan Times and The Indian Express. He is co-authoring with Colleen Taylor Sen a monumental Companion to Indian Food (to be published by a reputed international publishing house), he is a respected hospitality industry blogger (www.indianrestaurantspy.com), and he has authored a book on Japanese cuisine.

Contact him at [email protected]; +91 98108 62451.
Sanjoo Malhotra is a long-time resident of Stockholm, where he has been working since 2013 with the Embassy of India, Incredible !ndia and the CII to promote Brand India through the India Unlimited platform. A Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration and Stockholm University alumnus, Sanjoo also organises guided tours to India and has appeared on Indian cookery shows on Swedish national television. Contact: [email protected].

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