1.76 billion tons of food is wasted globally each year. Food waste is caused by buying or preparing more food than necessary, and not cooking or eating food purchases at all.
To solve this problem and to alleviate world hunger, a group of Swedish master students created FoPo Food Powder. The product is created by turning cheap, nearly expired produce into powder form. By freeze-drying the food, pressure is lowered and water is removed, which results in longer-lasting nutrition in powder form.
Team members Kent Ngo, Gerald Marin, Vita Jarolimkova, Lizzie Cabisidan and Ada Balazy hope that their discovery can help end world hunger and minimize food waste.
The team has three objectives: reduce food waste by turning it into an innovative food product that can be used by people all over the world; extend shelf life while preserving all the nutritional properties and taste; give ugly and expiring food a chance.
“We are not into using a new product or new technology, but creating value out of the inefficiency of the food system,” Marian says.
So far, the powder comes in three flavors: banana, raspberry and mango. The powder retains 30-80% of its nutritional value and can be topped on yogurt and ice cream, baked into recipes, and blended into smoothies.
FoPo Food Powder also offers benefits for food producers and retailers. They can donate or sell their unsellable food, buy FoPo and incorporate it into their recipes, and sell FoPo for a source of good nutrition without additives.
Even further, FoPo offers hope for disaster relief, military and space needs, and providing nutrition to impoverished locations.
Since beginning their project in December 2014, the team has discovered that powdered food is becoming more accepted by consumers, and freeze-drying preserves nutritional value better than other techniques.
FoPo won the Ben & Jerry’s Join Our Core crowd-funding and placed runner-up for Thought For Food Summit, a challenge that helps students with projects to make the world a better place. Currently, FoPo is a finalist for MassChallenge, a community that helps early-stage entrepreneurs with their projects.
FoPo also receives support from both the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the Philippines. They are currently launching a test run in natural disaster areas of the Philippines. Local farmers near the test sights will also be donating fruits such as pineapples and mangoes to the trial run.
The team continues to raise awareness and money about their product. With funds, they can find a manufacturer, acquire legal advice and perform further safety testing.
The team hopes to sell to grocery stores and online to big manufacturers in the near future. They also hope to create more flavors of FoPo, see more consumers interested in their product, and feed 9 billion people healthy and nutritious food produced from wasted food.
– Kelsey Parrotte