Dubai: Dubai Municipality’s Food Safety Department recently distributed the best Hypermarket Award for Food Safety. Choithrams won the first place and the second place was shared by Lulu Hypermarket and Union co-op whereas the third place was bagged by Aswaaq. Carrefour was awarded special appreciation certificate for its participation in the competition.
Noura al Shamsi, Head of Applied Nutrition and Permits Section in the Food Safety Department of Dubai Municipality said that the Hypermarket campaign, started in 2016, was divided into two phases, the first phase encourages the hypermarkets to focus on food safety and quality elements that the consumers need to follow in order to keep the food safe, whereas the phase-2 focused on nutrition elements.
“With an aim to tackle childhood obesity and increase awareness about importance of nutrition for children, the Food Safety Department had introduced Nutrition Characters along with the new school nutrition guidelines that became applicable for all the private schools in Dubai during the academic year 2017-2018. The nutrition characters were launched during the second phase of the Hyper Market Campaign themed, “Back to School” to encourage the school kids to eat healthy,” she said.
“The Hypermarket campaign was also aimed to help parents to select better and healthier food options for their children. Every year, the Food Safety Department organizes the competition called the Best Hypermarket Awards where most of the leading hypermarkets participate with the Municipality to spread awareness about food safety and importance of eating healthy,” said Al Shamsi.
“The theme was designed based on the major topics that our section needs to address. These issues are based on customer complaints, feedback from our inspections and other sections and this helps us to focus on bringing hands on solution to the consumers,” she said.
“This year the theme for phase-1 was “Safe Food Storage” that emphasized on storing the food in a proper way to avoid spoilage and cross contamination of food as well as food wastage whereas the phase-2 was themed “Healthy Eating Habits In School Children,” for which the Nutrition Characters called the Food Heroes were introduced to encourage school children using the team of six characters depicting different food groups,” said Al Shamsi.
“The theme also aims to encourage parents to shop healthy for their kids. During this campaign, the participating hypermarkets displayed useful information and posters about healthy eating, some playful activities for the kids, and some surprises too,” she added.
“A qualified expert team visited the participating hypermarkets and evaluated the effectiveness of their approaches and consumer engagement. The evaluation criteria were based on creativity, presentation of ideas, involving customers through social media channels, number of branches covered, and effectiveness of the message conveyed. The participating hypermarkets organized several innovative programs engaging students and their parents to create awareness on nutritious foods,” said Al Shamsi.
“We organized Back to School – Healthy Eating for Kids campaign, in which children were helped to select the right beverage and healthy snacks. They were also taught to read nutrition labels and were given tips on leading a healthy school life as well as keeping their lunch boxes safe,” said Smitha Vijay, QHSE Operations Manager at Choithrams.