Pune, Nov 28 (IANS) Tata Trusts and Mars Inc. have announced plans to tackle malnutrition among schoolchildren in the 6-16 age group in all population segments by delivering enhanced nutrition products manufactured locally, officials said here on Wednesday.
Following a memorandum of understanding between the two groups in 2016, the first product from the Mars Edge Pune plant was launched on Wednesday — the GoMo Dal Crunchies — a new innovative offering for schoolchildren in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh via select partner organisations for Rs 10-20.
Mars Edge Country Director Atul Sohoni said the company has invested around $11 million towards the initiative at its $75 million Pune plant, with the aim to touch 45,000 villages in the two states.
The new venture to support availability of affordable nutrition was launched by Managing Trustee of Tata Trusts R. Venkataramanan and Mars Inc. Chairman Stephen Badger, and other senior officials in Pune on Wednesday.
The multi-thematic programme will be implemented by Mars Edge, which is Mars Inc.’s healthcare division, catering to human health and wellness through targeted nutrition.
The 126-year-old Tata Trusts is engaged in implementing a three-pronged approach to tackle malnutrition, including helping government strengthen existing systems like Integrated Child Development Services, working with government on policy and advocacy on interventions like food fortification, and supporting direct production-distribution of affordable nutritious products.
“The Tata Trusts believe in pursuing important causes that are good for India as a whole. Nutrition is among them because it enduringly improves the quality of peoples’ lives and achievement,” remarked Tata Trusts Chairman, Ratan N. Tata.
Badger said the world is facing huge social, environmental and health challenges that require forward-thinking partnerships and collaborations like the one with Tata Trusts whose commitment to improving the quality of life and nutrition in India made them a natural partner.
The collaboration between the two groups enables Mars Edge’s innovation, product development, sales and marketing and Tata Trusts’ knowledge of nutrition in India, understanding of local communities, their needs and a distribution network.
Besides nutrition-specific projects, the Tata Trusts support and implement several major multi-sectoral initiatives in poverty alleviation, health, education and sanitation.
A family-owned $35 billion sales enterprise, Mars Inc. is known globally for its major brands like Snickers, Twix.