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, we waste more than a third of the food we produce. That's according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.
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. It may help people who have limited access to food.
They're calling it FoPo Food Powder. It's exactly what it sounds like: dried, powdered, shelf-stable fruits and vegetables. The powder can be dropped into relief efforts after natural disasters or it can be distributed 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 couldn't back out," says Kent Ngo. He is 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 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. The process then includes grinding it up. From there, the students looked at ways to distribute it, through commercial and government supported venues.
One member of the group is Gerald Perry Marin, who grew up in the Philippines. It is the country's capital. 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. That would aid low-budget humanitarian groups and non-governmental organizations.
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. It is a citrus fruit. Ngo says it 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

  • annas-ver
    9/09/2015 - 01:24 p.m.

    But how do you eat it? just the powder, or can you add water and turn it into paste,what about actually touching and feeling the food you eat

  • sheilah-6-bar
    9/09/2015 - 07:22 p.m.

    This new powder revolutionizes food because powder doesn't need to go in the fridge. This powder could also help keep people fit cause it's just powder. They could even add more healthy foods and possibly make it so people like it more. The possibilities are almost endless on what they could do to the powder. The FoPo powder is the future.

  • Steve0620-yyca
    9/09/2015 - 08:55 p.m.

    I think that it is sad that we are wasting about one third of our food when some people are starving and don't get that much food. I think that this way of making food into powder will help a lot of people. Now this way, people can get food and eat the powder if they have a food problem. People can deliver the food. I think that this FoPo powder will be helpful. I have not heard of something like this.

  • mckaylas-1-ols
    9/10/2015 - 12:50 p.m.

    FoPo is powered so that the food doesn't go bad. It is has nutrients that are needed to survive at a low cost.

  • jasminpd-1-ols
    9/10/2015 - 12:53 p.m.

    FoPo powder is food but in a powdered form. The students made powdered fruit by doing some type of experiment. Its science and so it makes it really cool by helping out people who have been in natural disasters.

  • laneys-1-ols
    9/10/2015 - 12:55 p.m.

    FoPo is powdered because then it can be kept on shelf life and be used as relief bags for people who have lost their homes due to weather disasters.

  • amelianaa-ols
    9/10/2015 - 12:59 p.m.

    I think that FoPo is powdered so that it doesn't go bad. The powder is dry so it doesn't have moistness which is key ingredient in mold.

  • tycenb-ols
    9/10/2015 - 01:04 p.m.

    FoPo is a powdered made food. It can help people in natural disaster situations. Some people are also thinking about using it in cooking and baking.

  • jacksonh-ols
    9/10/2015 - 01:08 p.m.

    The people who developed this are helping organizations that provide for people who have been through natural disasters. I can't believe that when they turn it into powder they keep their taste.

  • daizypd-ols
    9/10/2015 - 01:09 p.m.

    FoPo is powered because it last longer, mixes better, and can be spray-dyed to change the color so its not a disgusting color.

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