Arla Foods Ingredients has become the product innovation partner in a four-year project to turn papaya fruit into an affordable snack for low-income consumers in Ethiopia. The project, led by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), brings together multiple public-private partners. The objective is to build a fruit processing value chain to help reduce malnutrition, create jobs and cut post-harvest papaya loss.
The Arla Foods Ingredients team has developed the first prototype recipes for a dried fruit protein bar based on papaya pulp, containing milk and whey-based ingredients.
“One of our major tasks will be to adapt the recipe to local preferences based on consumer insights. Another role is to work with local food producers to ensure they have the necessary technology and knowhow to produce it,” Charlotte Sørensen, Arla Foods Ingredients Business Development Manager, told nutraceuticalbusinessreview.com.
Papayas are a source of income for more than 890,000 farmers. They are also rich in vitamins A, B and C. Every year, around 30% of the harvest is lost due to spoilage. Solar drying enables the reduction of post-harvest loss to make more of the fruit available for processing into foods. Addis Ababa University is investigating how to ensure nutrient retention during the drying process.
GAIN project leader in Ethiopia, Meseret Worku said: “Farmers and food processors are very interested in this initiative to produce high quality, affordable products. We will support them with nutritional and value chain expertise and with creating consumer demand. Through this, we can contribute to the Ethiopian government’s ambition to reduce malnutrition-related stunting to zero by 2030.”