Food processing and packaging companies continue to fare well on the back of rising domestic demand being fuelled by urbanisation and change in lifestyles. But in the last fiscal year, the cumulative output of food and beverage companies (including large-scale manufacturing) fell a quarter percentage point, in a reversal of a long-established growth trend.

This has apparently made no big dent in profitability of food giants. But a point worth pondering is that whether food companies whose profitability remained unaffected in FY15.

Some stats first; “neither the provinces nor the federation has made any attempt to survey the entire food market, classify the players on different basis and develop a data baseline to periodically monitor overall growth in this sector,” says a senior official of the Sindh Bureau of Statistics.

Moving on: That extra-virgin olive oil you use on salad has probably been cut with soybean or sunflower oil, plus a bunch of chemicals. The 100 percent grass-fed beef you just bought is no such thing. It’s very possible that cow was still pumped full of drugs and raised in a cramped feedlot.

Once someone tries a real extra-virgin an adult or child, anybody with taste buds they’ll never go back to the fake kind.” artisanal farmer Grazia DeCarlo has said.

“It’s distinctive, complex, the freshest thing you’ve ever eaten. It makes you realise how rotten the other stuff is, literally rotten.”

I believe that if we decided to tax food that causes our citizen to become obese and therefore unhealthy and costly to our health-care-system and instead subsidize locally grown organic fruits and vegetable, we could very well see an amazing about-face in our collective health. How about fast food tax? Considering that “billion and billion” are served, the revenue could potentially pay off the national debt-even as the measures saved billions more on reduced health-care costs, since fewer and fewer people would be attracted to fast food if it was not so cheap anymore.

I hope the concerned authorities and the public will take appropriate action at the earliest .

SADIA MUHAMMAD YAR,

Karachi, April 12.