USAID debuts nutrition bar for emergency relief

by Laura Lloyd
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KANSAS CITY — The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has debuted a high-nutrition shortbread-style enriched wheat-soy food bar about the size of a deck of cards for use as an emergency food after natural disasters, Stephen M. Moody, USAID senior advisor for food technology, told Milling and Baking News. In development since 1999, the 55-gram bars can provide a day’s worth of calories and nutrition if eaten in sufficient quantity.

Mr. Moody was a participant in the International Food Aid & Development Conference, “From Harvest to Basket: Weaving Together Agricultural Markets and Food Security,” sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and USAID, May 7-9, in Kansas City.

“Nine of the bars a day contain 2,100 calories, or a day’s worth of food,” Mr. Moody said. He said the product was produced in volumes designed “to feed 15,000 people for two weeks,” until other edibles become available after a disaster.

The bars will represent a very small portion — 270 tonnes out of about 1.66 million tonnes — of total food aid made available to selected countries by the United States. The bars will become available in fiscal 2012.

Children six months and older as well as adults may consume the bars, Mr. Moody said. The bars may be turned into a porridge when mixed with breast milk. He noted that about 80 tonnes of the bars would be pre-positioned and stored in Dubai and about 30 tonnes would be stored in Miami.

Mr. Moody said the bars “can last at least two years and are still edible at five to six years.” He added that the nutritionally enriched ingredients also are available in the form of a paste, which he said children liked best during tests of the product while in development.

Challenge Dairy, a large dairy outside San Francisco, won the contract to make the bars through a competitive bidding process, Mr. Moody said. He noted that the bid process included a “best value source selection,” which meant that quality control and other factors were taken into consideration along with costs of production.

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