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
Lexile

Next time you toss rotten lettuce or moldy berries you should think about this. Globally, we waste more than a third of the food we produce. That is according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.
 
A group of Swedish graduate students is working to fight that fact. They are in the Food Innovation and Product Design program at Lund University and have come up with a way to use produce that is about to go to waste. It may help people who have limited access to food.
 
They are calling it FoPo Food Powder. It is exactly what it sounds like. It is dried, powdered, shelf-stable fruits and vegetables. The powder can be dropped into relief efforts after natural disasters. Or it can be given out in low-resource areas where fresh food and refrigeration are 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 could not back out," says Kent Ngo. He is one of the students who developed it.
 
Ngo says they are not making something ground-breaking. Powdered food has been around since the early days of astronauts. But they are rethinking the waste and delivery channels. Their development team reached out to farmers and retailers to source fruit. The food scientists experimented with different drying and powdering methods. They settled on spray-drying it. The process then included grinding it up. From there, the students looked at ways to give it out, through commercial and government supported sites.
 
One member of the group is Gerald Perry Marin. He grew up in the Philippines. It is the country's capital. He had 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 situation.
 
"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. That would aid low-budget humanitarian groups and non-governmental groups.
 
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 is 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 are drying calamansi. It is a citrus fruit. Ngo says it tastes like a mix of lime and tangerine. There is a surplus of it. It is 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 are about to start working with the U.N.'s Initiative on Food Loss and Waste. The want to try and reach more people and countries that could benefit. To broaden their reach, they are also working with commercial suppliers and companies that want to use FoPo in their food products. Some examples might be 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 cannot wait for the mango and pineapple powder."

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


COMMENTS (128)
  • nathanr-ver
    9/03/2015 - 03:57 p.m.

    I think its really interesting these guys are making food into powder.

  • madhur-was
    9/07/2015 - 04:09 a.m.

    Critical thinking challenge: Why is FoPo powdered?

    The FoPo is a powdered substance for a few reasons. One reason is that if it was like a dough or a liquid it would be hard to taste or eat and it is meant for low nutritious body. Another reason is that energized food take a lot of space for storing in nutrients if it is in a different form, so powder is the smallest form of all. These are the main reasons of why FoPo is a powdered substance.

  • emalyb-gau
    9/08/2015 - 11:20 a.m.

    This is so cool. I can't wait to try this healthy powder.

  • gracew-1-gau
    9/08/2015 - 11:22 a.m.

    Personally I think this is a great idea for food conservation. I really hope we can find a way to give them to staring people.

  • sarahk-gau
    9/08/2015 - 11:22 a.m.

    I think that the students who invented FoPo(Food Powder)are really on to something. It's a great way to make sure that the places in the world who don't have as much food get enough. You guys keep doing what your doing because what your doing is astounding.:)

  • ZakO-Iov
    9/08/2015 - 10:39 p.m.

    FoPo Is a powder because it will last longer

  • ciarap-ros
    9/09/2015 - 12:47 p.m.

    FoPo is powdered because it is shelf stabled vegetables and fruits.

  • harris-eri
    9/10/2015 - 05:24 a.m.

    Fo Po powder can save food for people where is unavailable. We can store food easily because of non-perishable or rotten.

  • jilliand-3-bar
    9/10/2015 - 10:31 a.m.

    FoPo is powdered because powdered foods last the longest. Being a liquid or solid can make it spoil faster, defeating the purpose of this idea.

  • charlottec-gau
    9/10/2015 - 11:19 a.m.

    I think this is a great thing for people in far away countries when they don't have access to fresh foods they can eat it. I know that my cousins that live in the Yukon territory and don't have enough money to buy fresh fruits so this should really help them out when they need to eat something heathy because it costs a lot of money to get a bag of apples when it is 1.99 for us to get some apples

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