Students turn food into non-perishable powder
Students turn food into non-perishable powder Dried fruit powder will keep for up to two years. (FoPo Food Powder)
Students turn food into non-perishable powder
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When you toss manky lettuce or moldy berries, think about this: Globally, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, we waste more than a third of the food we produce.
To combat that, a group of Swedish graduate students in the Food Innovation and Product Design program at Lund University have come up with a way to use produce that is about to go to waste - and to help people who have limited access to food.
They're calling it FoPo Food Powder, and it's exactly what it sounds like: dried, powdered, shelf-stable fruits and vegetables, which can be dropped into relief efforts after natural disasters or distributed in low-resource areas where fresh food and refrigeration are both hard to come by.
"When we found out that one third of the food produced was going to waste while people in the world were starving, we couldn't back out," says Kent Ngo, one of the students who developed it.
Ngo says they're not producing something revolutionary. Powdered food has been around since the early days of astronauts, but that they're rethinking the waste and distribution channels. While their development team reached out to farmers and retailers to source fruit, the food scientists experimented with different drying and powdering techniques. They settled on spray drying it, and then grinding it up after it was sublimated. From there, they looked at ways to distribute it, through commercial and government supported venues.
One member of the group, Gerald Perry Marin, grew up in the Philippines, so he'd seen how typhoons and other natural disasters cut people off from their food supply, and how important it was to have food options that were easy to access in a relief scenario.
"Today a relief bag for humanitarian disasters contains various foods such as strawberry jam, peanut butter and peas in tomato sauce. We think that an easily transported pack of cheap dried food powder with high nutritional value would fit in perfectly," Ngo says. The team has been trying to keep its prices down, too, to aid low-budget humanitarian groups and NGOs.
Freeze-dried food retains most of the nutritional benefits of raw food. It loses some vitamin and mineral density in the drying process, but it's still a good way to get fiber and nutrients.
The makers of FoPo are currently running a pilot program in Manila. For their first run, they're drying calamansi, a citrus fruit that Ngo says tastes like a mix of lime and tangerine. There is a surplus of it, it's not available in other places, and it is easy for their Philippine manufacturing program to dry and powder.
The group has reportedly gotten support from senators in the Philippines, and they're about to start working with the U.N.'s Initiative on Food Loss and Waste, to try to reach more people and countries that could benefit. To broaden their reach, they're also working with commercial distributors and manufacturers that want to use FoPo in their food products, like cake mixes and ice cream. Consumers can also sprinkle it into food or drinks, or use it in baking. The company has almost 40 international supermarkets on board.
"I was a bit surprised that the calamansi powder tasted so good," Ngo says. "I can't wait for the mango and pineapple powder."

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Why is FoPo powdered?
Write your answers in the comments section below

    9/07/2015 - 10:50 a.m.

    FoPo Powder is useful in todays world. It helps food not be wasted and allows more nutritional food be distributed to low-resource areas. This fits right in with American culture. Every year more and more people want to be more healthy and resourceful. FoPo makes that a lot easier. In American culture there are people who live healthy lives. And FoPo could and would be a part of their lives. As it becomes part of our lives it becomes a "thing" for American culture.

  • jillianr-nar
    9/08/2015 - 03:41 p.m.

    This can help the world by giving people a cheaper type of nutrients if anything wipes out their food source like a natural disaster. People can do anything with the powder and and have some type of nutrients int their food.

    • valerieh-nar
      9/10/2015 - 07:55 p.m.

      This group of people are giving all the people who are starving a chance to eat again! They might even save a few lives from starvation. I would have never thought to turn waste food into powder.

  • jacksonv-nar
    9/08/2015 - 05:00 p.m.

    I have tried powdered food from the NASA field trip and it tasted pretty good. It is nice to find a way to save the food that we end up throwing away.

  • stephaniem-nar
    9/08/2015 - 05:46 p.m.

    The powder could help the world by not wasting a lot of food.It could also help by babies being able to eat the fruit and vegetables when they are able to and they still don't have teeth.It is also good because it is a good way to get fiber and nutrients.Those are some ways why the powder is good.

  • davidc-nar
    9/08/2015 - 06:47 p.m.

    FoPo is powdered because that way it is easier to carry in a compact way and it wont spoil faster.

  • katelyna-nar
    9/08/2015 - 08:02 p.m.

    FoPo aka. Food Powder is a food powder because the inventor wanted to provide food for people during natural disasters etc. A powder is a lot easier to access during natural disasters because powder does not spoil or get bruised. I think that this product would be really useful and helpful plus easy to ship since it isn`t a liquid nor does it go bad.

  • matson,ethan-cas
    9/09/2015 - 10:42 a.m.

    1. FoPo is powdered because it can be preserved for longer time periods in that state.

    2. I am happy about this article because it means there is a very easy way to get plenty of food to the hungry due to the ability to be compact.

  • prestonj-nar
    9/09/2015 - 01:36 p.m.

    That is very cool how they can turn dried out food an turn that into powder. This will probably help the waste problem with our planet.

  • irisb-nar
    9/09/2015 - 03:35 p.m.

    That's really cool. The students who came up with this should be really proud. I never thought we wasted so much food.

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