An awareness campaign against slow poisoning due to newspaper wrapped food

Religare Health Insurance has launched a campaign to spread awareness on consumption of food items wrapped in newspapers as it may have hazardous impact


New Delhi: The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) recently issued an advisory citing that the consumption of food wrapped in newspapers is injurious to health and its usage should be prohibited. In a bid to generate awareness amongst people about the harmful impact of consuming food wrapped in newspapers Religare Health Insurance, one of India’s leading health insurers unveiled a mass campaign titled ‘Don’t Eat The News’ wherein company distributed fresh paper wraps, with the aforementioned facts printed in edible ink, to the street vendors along with launching a helpline to address public queries.

The printing ink used in the newspapers contain harmful chemicals such as dyes, alcohol, pigments, preservatives etc. which can cause severe digestive problems, food poisoning, high blood pressure, kidney ailments and in certain cases can also lead to cancer. Children and the aged are at a greater risk since they have a weaker immune system.

Mr Paritosh Kataria, Head of Marketing, Religare Health Insurance said, “In India, newspapers are widely used as packaging material by small restaurants, street food vendors and even at homes. We realised that there was an urgent need to discourage this rampant practice by creating awareness especially among unorganised food operators and also people at large. We decided to engage with street vendors and replace their newspapers with fresh paper wraps containing an awareness message. A Toll-Free Number was printed on the paper to understand the effectiveness of the delivery of our message.”

This initiative was co-developed and executed by Famous Innovations. Siddhartha Singh, CEO, Famous Innovations, added, “The idea is simple yet disruptive because it makes use of an already available but unutilized medium. It’s a classic attempt at trying to catch the reader with the right message in the wrong place – in a way that they can’t ignore it. Health Insurance is an important category that deserves far more attention than it is getting. Which is why we sought a non-traditional communication format – something that is involved in people’s everyday life and experiences.”

Within two weeks of the campaign roll out, over 5 Lakhs fresh paper wraps were distributed and approx. 55,000 enquiries were received. Realising the success of the campaign, RHI intends to tie-up with vendors across India starting with six key markets which includes Delhi/NCR, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai and Pune.