Today, there are 842 million undernourished people across the world. Even so, the World Food Program reports, enough food is produced to feed the world’s 7 billion people. However, inadequate investment in agriculture, natural disasters, war and displacement, unstable food markets, food waste and a cycle of poverty can prevent people from being able to access this food.
There is good news: the Global Hunger Index indicates that from 1990 to 2014, hunger in developing countries had fallen 39 percent. The WFP argues that “All of us — citizens, employers, corporate leaders and governments — must work together to end hunger.” Fenugreen and Bakeys are two companies working to address problems of hunger with their recent innovations.
Of all the food produced in the world, one-third — or 1.3 billion tons of food — goes to waste. The company Fenugreen produces a product called FreshPaper, designed to address food waste by preventing spoilage. FreshPaper sheets made of antibacterial and antifungal spices.
The sheets are inexpensive and can be placed inside bowls of fruit or refrigerators. Vegetables and fruit last two to four times as long when FreshPaper sheets are used. Further, the sheets can each be used for up to one month and can be kept in storage for up to two years before use. The sheets can also be composted afterward.
Fenugreen is currently working with nonprofit organizations and research institutions to make FreshPaper available to people living in India and Africa. The company is also working to research alternative applications for the product, relating to farming or the use of FreshPaper in households that have no refrigerator.
To address the problem of agricultural productivity, the Bakeys company has developed edible and compostable spoons, primarily made of sorghum. Wheat and rice crops require more water than a crop like sorghum. The continued stability of agriculture depends on the availability of groundwater. India, in 2010, extracted more groundwater than China and the United States combined. Narayana Peesapaty, the founder of Bakeys and inventor of the edible spoons, hopes that his product will encourage the production of sorghum and displace wheat and rice production, making agriculture in India more sustainable.
Bakeys spoons can also reduce the buildup of plastic waste. They are more sanitary than plastic spoons, which are not always produced in hygienic conditions, and the edible spoons do not expose people to the same dangerous petrochemicals that plastic spoons do.
– Madeline Reding