A Khaleej Times subscriber since 1999, Anita Rani Chopra, is KT's number one #FoodSoldier.
Three winners of a social media contest, organised as part of our KTForFGood campaign against food wastage, walked away with fabulous prizes on Sunday, for their contributions towards food conservation.
Anita - an assistant professor of business communication and technical English at BIT Ras Al Khaimah - won the top prize, a 760-litre French refrigerator, a 42-litre oven toaster grill; and a blender, all sponsored by Eros Digital.
The award ceremony was held at Khaleej Times' head office in Al Quoz. All three winners were present, along with officials from Eros Group and Khaleej Times.
The two runners-up, Faras Mahamood Manayath and Jnalyn Manabat, each won a 500-litre fridge.
The winners shared videos, interesting testimonials, pictures, and KT's post about the competition, receiving an incredible response for their posts.
While Anita highlighted her passion for conservation by sharing how she stores, preserves and reuses food, Jnaylyn and Faras talked about the benefits they have reaped from meal planning.
The 'KT Food Soldier' campaign made an impact that reached over 300,000 digital impressions.
Niranjan Gidwani, chief executive officer of Eros Group, thanked Khaleej Times for organising the "unique initiative" and expressed his desire to continue working with the team.
"My association with the newspaper started in 1990," he said. "And when it comes to corporate social responsibility, this (food conservation) is something I am very passionate about. After travelling to over 59 countries, I've come to realise that food and water are seriously challenging issues across the world. This has been a wonderful opportunity and a smart initiative."
Explaining the idea behind KT's campaigns at the award ceremony, executive editor Vicky Kapur said: "In January this year, we introduced the 'KT For Good' monthly series of campaigns to raise concerns and awareness about issues that impact our audience; to try to seek answers from the bodies and authorities concerned; and do our bit to bring about a positive change in our collective lives.
"We at Khaleej Times are delighted to see that not just concerned residents but also kind-hearted organisations, like the Eros Group, have joined us in this endeavour for the collective good of society. We are grateful to them for encouraging residents to come up with innovative ways to save food by sponsoring valuable prizes for the #KTFoodSoldiers contest. We hope to see more residents and corporates come together to make ours a better world. Together, we can and we shall make a difference."
After receiving the award from KT, Anita called the campaign "the need of the hour".
"I've learnt from mum when I was a child, at a time when a fridge was not there, that food conservation is very important," she said.
"My mother would make only one dish a day so that there was no wastage. Irrespective of whether we liked or disliked the dish, we had no choice. We could eat our chappatis with pickle."
Faras, an employee of Al Madina Distribution Centre, said he came across the competition via Facebook. And when he did, he thought a fridge would be useful to his group of eight bachelors in an apartment in Jebel Ali.
"We have a small fridge at the moment, and we can only store so much. We cook all the food ourselves. I have always known how important it is to conserve food as I learnt it from my mother, who worked hard to ensure it never goes to waste."
For Jnalyn, the third winner, stories of food waste reminded her of the struggles of a lot of hungry children in the Philippines, her home country.
"I am a mother of two kids and, often, I realise that there are countless children in my home country who don't have the means to eat thrice a day. Thinking of these less fortunate kids, I feel I must ensure that no food must go to waste," she said.