April 05, 2012

India’s first iodine plus iron fortified salt launched by Tata Chemicals

Tata Salt Plus, desh ka namak, the potent carrier of iodine is now iron fortified

New Delhi: Tata Chemicals, the country's leading salt manufacturer and marketer, today announced the launch of India’s first national brand of packaged iron fortified iodised salt across major cities in India. Tata Salt Plus — salt with iodine plus iron — is the new addition to the Tata Salt family and is aimed at addressing and eradicating the prevalence of iron deficiency through one of the most widely consumed food essentials — salt! It also marks the long-awaited entry of iron fortified iodised salt and the ’salt ironisation movement’ in India on a national scale.

Tata Salt Plus, priced at an economical rate of Rs20 for 1kg, is the long-awaited result of a 20-year research journey on double fortification technology and premix led by the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), Hyderabad. This technology was offered to Tata Chemicals under a long-term MoU after due studies on bio-availability across the population strata conducted and published by NIN.

Speaking on the launch, R Mukundan, managing director, Tata Chemicals, said, “We are proud to unveil Tata Salt Plus, which, we believe, is an important embodiment of our company’s vision to serve society through science. We were a pioneer in packaged iodised salt, which helped the country in addressing iodine deficiency and which has brought about a significant drop in the number of goitre cases. Now, via Tata Salt Plus, we turn our focus to help our consumers fight iron deficiency anaemia as well by offering an affordable, organic way in which to help meet established daily iron and iodine requirements.”

Ashvini Hiran, chief operating officer, consumer products business, Tata Chemicals, added, “Being a market leader, with about 64 percent market share in the organised national branded salt segment, and with a retail penetration into more than 11 lakh outlets pan India, we firmly believe that with Tata Salt Plus, Tata Chemicals is well positioned to help India in addressing iron deficiency in the most effective manner possible.

“With the launch of Tata Salt Plus and a national rollout into metro and mini metro cities, we also hope to see migration of user base from iodised salt to iron fortified iodised salt — Tata Salt Plus.”

According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3), anaemia has been found amongst 70-80 percent children, 70 percent pregnant women, 55 percent women in general and 25 percent adult men across population strata. Iron deficiency is commonly known as the biggest cause of anaemia. Prevalence of anaemia in India is high because of low dietary intake and especially poor availability of iron.

The double fortified salt formulation has been developed by NIN after more than two decades of research and studies. In April 2011, the prime minister's office directed that salt available through government food programmes including ICDS, mid-day meal and public distribution system should be fortified with iron and iodine.

Addressing the media, Dr B Sesikeran, director, NIN, said, “The deficiency of iodine and iron poses serious risks to public health, and food fortification, especially salt fortification, has proved to be one of the most viable solutions to address this issue. NIN has developed double fortified salt with the objective of countering both these challenges by leveraging salt, which, as a food product, is consumed across the board, and at the same time it is self-regulatory in terms of intake. NIN also conducted extensive research on the stability, safety, bio-availability and impact of double fortified salt, both in experimental and community situations, and the results have been convincing. It was high time that double fortified salt was made available and acceptable across the country; the need is now to drive a nationwide awareness campaign about iron deficiency anaemia and the benefits of consumption of double fortified salt.”

Tata Salt Plus — iron fortified iodised salt — will be available in the metro and mini metro cities pan India over next quarter.

Iron deficiency is a leading cause of anaemia in India

According to NFHS 3, anaemia is found in:

  • 70-80 percent children
  • 70 percent pregnant women
  • 24 percent adult men

Double fortified technology has been developed by the National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad.

What is iron deficiency anaemia (IDA)?

  • Decrease in number of red blood cells.
  • Decrease in quantity of haemoglobin in the blood.
  • Foremost cause — low dietary intake of iron.