The fight against childhood stunting in South Africa
The term 'Silent Hunger' is used when people have access to food but not nutrients. Their tummies are filled, but their bodies can not grow to their full potential due to nutrient-poor food intake.
It is especially pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as small growing children which require daily access to proper growth nutrients. When they are exposed to silent hunger for certain periods, these children can become stunted, causing irreversible cognitive, physical and mental disabilities.
Manufacturing nutrient-dense breakfast cereals at a lower cost will give economically disadvantaged young children access to nutrient-dense breakfast cereals during school days.
Feeding scheme organizations rely on ‘pre-cooked’ or ‘ready-to-eat breakfast cereals’ to supply poverty-stricken children's daily access to ‘balanced’ and ‘nutritious’ morning meals. Large food companies produce these ready-to-eat cereals through the mixing of selected ingredients into recipes.
If you want a low-cost meal – you will use cheap staples as ingredients (maize meal, soya and sugar). Nutrient-poor staples taste like bark. Add enough sugar, and the poor child will finish the bowl.
Large food companies compete by innovating towards designing low-cost meals while able to claim basic nutritional values. In almost all cases nutrient-poor, sugar-rich cereals are still sold as “highly nutritious” to feeding scheme operators.
Often bold claims are made around micronutrient contents (vitamins and minerals). These claims might seem impressive to the average man. The truth is that vitamin and mineral fortification costs almost nothing. Micronutrients can never correct for insufficient macronutrients (proteins and fats).
If you include better ingredients, the cost will go up accordingly. With higher costs and higher profits, budgets become too stretched. Make sense doesn’t it?
Let’s focus on real nutritional values and put real value in the tummies!