KENYA — Ingredion, a global leader in food ingredient solutions, has unveiled a groundbreaking initiative in Kenya, introducing the “Ready-to-Drink Nutritious Ambient Porridge.”
Made from locally sourced crops, including maize, soybeans, sorghum and sweet potato, the ready-to-drink porridge is sweetened using a sweetener produced from the stevia plant, fortified with 15 micronutrients, processed and packed in a Tetra Brik Aseptic 250ml pack with a straw.
The launch marks a pivotal step in Ingredion’s commitment to combat malnutrition, with an ambitious goal of transforming the lives of 50,000 schoolchildren in Kenya.
The project, funded by the Ministry of Education through the National Council for Nomadic Education in Kenya (NACONEK), seeks to combat the harrowing challenges of hunger and malnutrition afflicting schoolchildren in the arid and semi-arid regions of Kenya.
“In doing so, it aspires to elevate school attendance rates and enhance educational performance among these vulnerable populations,” the company noted in a release.
“At its core, this initiative not only promises a brighter future for these children but also illuminates a beacon of hope for addressing malnutrition on a grand scale within Kenya and potentially across borders.”
Remarkably, this venture represents a pioneering public-private partnership, the first of its kind in Africa.
It brings together three global giants in the food and beverage industry DSM, Ingredion, and Tetra Pak in collaboration with the Kenyan Government and other key stakeholders.
The primary objective is to enhance the lives of millions of children while simultaneously uplifting the livelihoods of thousands of local farmers.
“This is a profoundly gratifying project to be a part of, as it enables us to manifest our mission by enhancing the lives of underprivileged children, improving their nutritional status, and facilitating their return to school,” Kennedy Ouma, Director of Africa and the Middle East at Ingredion stated.
Additionally, the program’s reach is set to expand significantly, encompassing 100,000 children by 2024, with further plans to upscale to a staggering 2.4 million beneficiaries by 2025, as funding increases.
Ouma emphasized the collaborative nature of the venture, noting that all partners have joined forces to ensure the project’s success from its inception.
“Our primary goal was to formulate an affordable and nutritious product, based on climate-resilient crops, with a minimum shelf life of six months to accommodate the challenges posed by the arid regions of Kenya, which often lack clean water and cold storage facilities due to the absence of electricity.”
The initiative also aims to support the regional economy, with 12,000 small-scale farmers contracted to supply the raw materials.