The PepsiCo Foundation and Smile Foundation Launches Nutrition Enhancement Programme for Adolescent Girls in Gujarat

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Gujarat, February 20, 2019: With the aim of reducing the prevalence of anaemia among adolescent girls, The PepsiCo Foundation, in association with non-governmental organisation Smile Foundation, has commenced a nutrition enhancement programme called ‘Sampoorna’ (‘Complete’ or ‘Whole’) in Banaskantha district, Gujarat. The PepsiCo Foundation has invested over Rs. 2 Crores (US$296,000) in the programme which aims to improve nutrition among 1,000 adolescent girls across 10 villages in the district.

Shri Haribhai Chaudhary, Hon’ble Minister of State for Coal & Mines, Government of India, and Celebrity Chef – Vikas Khanna, attended the reception where senior leaders from PepsiCo India and Smile Foundation presented the programme model to the Minister. Designed as a model programme for addressing the prevalence of anaemia among girls,  Sampoorna aims to encourage behavioural change among female participants regarding proper dietary practices and help improve their nutrition quotient while also empowering the girls with opportunities to enhance their livelihood and workforce readiness over the long term.

As part of the nutrition enhancement efforts, the programme has also engaged Michelin Star Chef and PepsiCo’s Nutrition Ambassador, Vikas Khanna, to develop a recipe that will complement the nutrition levels in the girls’ diet. Based on insights into diet and food preferences in the region, Chef Vikas Khanna has developed a special laddoo recipe using locally available ingredients like sesame seeds, maize flour and jaggery.

Speaking about the project, Neelima Dwivedi, Vice President, PepsiCo India, said, “Nutrition deficiency and related issues are real risks to socio-economic progress. We are happy to partner with Smile Foundation to effect positive change among the communities in Gujarat, with particular focus on women and girls as we believe that empowering women empowers her family.”

“We are grateful to Chef Vikas Khanna for his contribution to the project by giving his time and effort to create a special recipe that is suited to the needs of the communities in the region. The laddoo has been well received by the girls in the programme, and we hope that they will benefit from making it a part of their diet going forward,” she added.

Commenting on his involvement with the PepsiCo Foundation project, PepsiCo’s Nutrition Ambassador, Chef Vikas Khanna said, “I feel humbled to be part of this project. A healthy diet is paramount to long term well-being, especially in the formative years of adolescence among girls. At the same time, it is important to keep in mind the local palate. Given the fondness for sweetmeats in this region, we have reformulated the universally loved laddoo using healthier ingredients that are easily available. I am delighted to see how well the children have accepted this recipe and hope that it can become a part of their regular diet. Once these girls realise the importance of eating healthy, they can surely bring change for their entire family by helping them adopt nutritious options.”

PepsiCo Foundation’s Sampoorna programme is structured to help beneficiaries through three key interventions – (i) Nutrition Training to build awareness for nutrition and hygiene and to encourage consumption of iron-folic acid tablets (ii) Nutrition support by providing nutritious snacks and strengthening government linkages for regular supply of supplements, (iii) Capability building through skills training to support the livelihoods long term impact among female beneficiaries.

Speaking about the partnership, Santanu Mishra, Co-founder and Executive Trustee, Smile Foundation said, “We share The PepsiCo Foundation’s vision to help address the nutrition gap among children from underprivileged communities. It is our endeavour to bring about behavioural change and help adolescent girls understand the importance of a nutritious diet. We believe this will create a ripple effect on their family and future generations. Further, we hope that supporting skills training and workforce opportunities will help them sustain the change.”