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  • Cracking the health code

    May 22nd, 2017

    Nuts and dry fruits, which almost always are optional ingredients in our diet, saw an entire three-day event dedicated to them. Close to 1,000 delegates from 60 countries occupied the seats at the Rajendra Ballroom in ITC Grand Chola, to engage in discussions about both the nutrition and business side of the industry that revolves around prunes, cashews, dates, almonds, raisins and cranberries among others.

    The 36th edition of the World Nut and Dried Fruit Congress, which was hosted for the first time in India, had “CEOs and leaders from across the world, besides speakers such as spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Gopi Kallayil, chief evangelist, brand marketing at Google, along with some of the eminent scientists in the field of research of nutritional studies,” says Mark Mariani, chairman, International Nut and Dried Fruit Congress.

    According to Pratap Nair, chairman of this Congress, India has a huge consumer market for nuts and dried fruits. “We have seen a high consumption growth among consumers here, especially the middle class. I feel that the awareness around dried fruits has also increased over the years, and consumers understand the health aspects better.” Nuts are now part of cookies, ice creams, sweets and even gifting. There is also something called the peanut butter beer, that one doesn’t have to feel guilty about chugging.

    More importantly, according to research done by Richard D Mattes, professor of Nutrition Science, Purdue University, USA, nuts could be one of the best snacking options, given “they suppress hunger and the desire to eat, and leave one with a feeling of fullness.” Following his presentation, Dr V Mohan, president and director, Madras Diabetes Research Foundation (MDRF), also quoted from the studies conducted at the centre. He said, “Recent research has transformed the general impression of nuts being a ‘fatty snack’ to a wholesome/heart-healthy food.”

    The Congress has been looking at innovative ways to make the nutrient-rich nuts and dry fruits a part of one’s diet by promoting ‘Nuts for Gifts’, which incidentally is a tradition picked up from Indian heritage. “There is about 10-12% growth observed in the market trend, highlighted by CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General),” says Nair. Mariani adds, “We understand that the economy in India is doing well, and the middle class is growing evidently. This increases our consumer targets, and nuts and dried fruits are a perfect fit. Moreover, different corporates and companies are looking at India as a very large and potential market for nuts and dried fruits.”

    Different corporates and companies are looking at India as a potential market for nuts and dried fruits

    In a nut shell

    A study published inThe American Journal of Clinical Nutritionfound that people who consumed magnesium-rich foods, like peanuts, had fewer strokes.