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22 May, 2014

WEF East Asia: Young Global Leaders’ TABLE FOR TWO Launches Calorie Offset Programme

Metro Manila, Philippines, 22 May 2014 (WEF media release) TABLE FOR TWO, a global non-profit committed to tackling hunger, malnutrition and obesity, launched today its Calorie Offset programme at the World Economic Forum on East Asia, taking place in Manila on 21-23 May.

The new programme works by taking “excess” calories from the developed world and transferring them to people in need, particularly children. Companies designate healthy, low-calorie, low sugar-and-salt food products for the programme. The reduced calories are monetized in the form of donations, which are then used for agricultural training, school gardens and other sustainable initiatives to improve the production of nutritious food in developing countries. In addition to food products, the programme seeks partnerships with fitness apparel brands, sporting events and other activities that contribute to burning calories.

Calorie Offset marks a new venture for TABLE FOR TWO, which has traditionally focused on school cafeterias and restaurants. The emphasis on food products, the health fitness industry and sporting events enables a greater number of people to participate in the programme. More information about Calorie Offset is available at www.calorieoffset.jp.

“Calorie Offset is a new concept and a new unit similar to offsetting carbon emissions to reduce greenhouse gasses,” explained Masa Kogure, Executive Director of TABLE FOR TWO International. “We aim to generate a society-wide awareness of health issues and encourage an economy of self-sufficiency at the base of the pyramid. We look forward to the initiatives of the various companies participating to Calorie Offset.”

In Japan, the following companies are contributing to the programme: Lawson, Oisix, Ezaki Glico, Nagatanien and FiNC.

Takeshi Niinami, Chairman of Japanese convenience store chain Lawson and a Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum on East Asia, said the company will launch joint promotions for Calorie Offset later this year, together with manufacturers and vendors who will support the initiative.

Japanese food delivery site, Oisix, has begun selling Calorie Offset fat-free dressing, which has 42% fewer calories compared to its traditional dressing (links to some of the products can be found here). The company also has a charity campaign to support people affected by Typhoon Haiyan.

A Calorie Offset event was already been held at the Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm Café. Gawad Kalinga is one of the most successful NGOs in the Philippines, supporting young social entrepreneurs. Donations through Calorie Offset will be used to support sustainable school gardens and school meal programmes at primary schools in the Philippines.

The ASEAN region is a strategic priority for many companies, and Calorie Offset partners seek to expand their footprint in the Philippines and elsewhere in Asia as awareness of healthier eating habits grow.