• Posted by CERC India
  • Posted in

Key findings

We tested five brands each of three categories of namkeens – sev bhujia, moong dal and mixture – for two nutritional parameters: (i) total fat content and (ii) sodium content. Our tests found that many brands had unacceptably high levels of fat and sodium. Some brands made irresponsible claims on their packets which could mislead consumers. Many brands did not mention amount of salt/sodium in their products.


(To zoom click on table)

1The Overall Score was calculated by giving the following weightages – Fat content – 50%, Sodium content – 50%
2 Price/100g calculated from MRP and rounded off
3 High sodium content implies high salt content. Sodium is the harmful component of salt.
3 and 4For fat and sodium lesser value is better

 High sodium content

There is no mention of the limit for sodium or salt in the voluntary standard of Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), ‘IS 15271: 2003 Namkeen – Specification’. According to the UK Food Standard Agency (FSA), sodium content of more than 550mg/100g of a product is high. Many of the namkeen brands fall in the high sodium category. A comparison between the three types of namkeens reveals that sev bhujia had the highest amount of sodium.

As per the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), Hyderabad, the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for adults is 2400mg of sodium. This means that a 100g packet of Gwalia Bikaneri Bhujia (with sodium content of 1242mg/100g) contains more than 50% of the RDA!

High fat content

As per the Indian Standard, fat content of namkeens should not be more than 45% by mass. According to the UK FSA, more than 20g/100g (>20%) is a high level of fat. Why is the Indian Standard so liberal as compared to international norms? Fourteen of the 15 namkeen brands fall in the high fat category as per the UK norm! A comparison between the three types of namkeens reveals that sev bhujia had the highest amount of fat.

Your diet should contain about 30-50g/day of fat as per NIN. That means that one 100g packet of Parle Namkeen Bhujia Sev (with fat content of 44.8g/100g) contains more than 99% of the fat that you should consume in a whole day!

 Areas of Action

  • Mandatory standards for fat and sodium in namkeens should be set at the earliest.
  • FSSAI has formed an expert group to advise it on dietary intake of salt, sugar and fat. The expert group should expedite decisions on this urgent matter.
  • Manufacturers should mandatorily declare salt/sodium content and reduce the level of fat and sodium in their products.

For details Report CLICK HERE 

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