How your excess calories can help people in need

by Fidea Encarnacion,

Posted at May 24 2014 02:47 PM | Updated as of May 24 2014 10:47 PM

MANILA – On a diet? Imagine your excess calories being given to people who need it most.

The Young Global Leaders' Table for Two launched on Thursday the "Calorie Offset" initiative, which aims to “transfer excess calories” from products to people in need, in the Philippines.

In a press conference at the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on East Asia, Table for Two executive director Masa Kogure said the excess calories from products will be monetized into donations for agriculture training, development of school gardens, and other sustainable activities.

“[With] excess calories [being] transferred to people in need, particularly other children… [it will be] monetized into donation for agriculture training, school gardens, and other sustainable initiatives," Kogure said.

The group will be partnering with different brands, sporting events, and manufacturers that will be able to promote the benefits of having a healthier lifestyle.

“[We will] partner with exercise [initiatives], brands, and sporting events that promote burning of calories," Kogure said.

The Calorie Offset program was initially launched in Tokyo, Japan last May 2014 with the participation of companies such as LAWSON, Oisix, Ezaki Glico, Nagatanien, and FiNC.

Among these, LAWSON and Oisix has already begun promoting and selling products supported by the program.

Takeshi Niinami, chairman of Lawson Inc., said the government of Japan supports the initiative.

Although they are still in talks whether the products will cost more than the regularly produced commodities in the market today, Niinami said that they will have to consider the value added function of making the product still top quality.

“This much be a very good tasteful product. We can allow [it to be as it is] but [it will] taste really bad. [We will make sure that] they are very tasteful," Niinami said.

Kogure noted that consumers now pay more to become healthy, and as a branded product, they are looking on providing the worth that they will be offering.

“These days, consumers will actually pay more to become healthy. We are hoping to charge extra on those branded products…but really still in negotiation.”

Kogure said that the products will be produced with local manufacturers, using available ingredients in the area.

“Depends on the location, available local ingredients, [and we will] evaluate the nutrient level of children and examine the micro-nutrients they are lacking," he said.

He said that they are already working on partnerships with different local institutions and chains, including fast food giant Jollibee.

When asked if how long the program will run, Kogure said it will be a long-term project.

“[It] needs to be sustainable, [so we’ll] stay in the Philippines as long as needed.”

Niinami said that this initiative was started to address the problem of obesity evident not only in Japan, but in the world.

He said that they hope the program will be able to provide a solution to the social problem, and at the same time, also help children in need.

“Social problem is that intake of calorie is too much. I hope this initiative will penetrate to other bigger [problems] in Japan, even here in ASEAN… [and provide a] big solution for people in need," he said.

Table for Two is an official affiliate of the Forum of Young Global Leaders. They have launched previous projects which promoted healthy eating while providing for school meals of children in developing countries.