‘Peanut Butter for the Hungry’ Project Combats Global Hunger

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Sixty million children under the age of five worldwide suffer from severe malnutrition and 142 million from chronic malnutrition. One million of these children die every year as a consequence. Even the ones who survive are faced with severe long-term side effects. These children typically lag behind their peers in their development and suffer the physical and psychological effects of malnutrition throughout their lives.

One of the simple yet powerful solutions to address this challenge is peanut butter. One serving of peanut butter offers eight grams of plant-based protein and over 30 essential nutrients and phyto-nutrients. Peanut butter is an economical source of protein and is shelf-stable, which makes it an ideal food product to counter the problem of malnutrition across the world.

The U.S. peanut industry has come up with a unique global initiative called Peanut Butter for the Hungry. The program, which is managed by the American Peanut Council, is designed to help malnourished children in regions where resources are limited. The program includes encouraging peanut butter donations to food banks in the U.S. as well as supporting the production and delivery of peanut butter to food insecure countries in the developing world.

Peanut Butter for the Hungry project recently got involved in its first-ever consumer-facing event as a part of the National Peanut Board’s ‘Perfectly Powerful Peanut Pop-up’ in NYC. Consumers were positively receptive to the idea of using peanut butter as a ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF). The event, which is now being extended to four more American cities, had a stroke of good timing, with the New York Times publishing an article around its launch with the headline “Nuts are a Nutritional Powerhouse.”

Peanut Butter Council’s Vice President, International Marketing, Stephanie Grunenfelder, said that the new initiative has been approved by Google as a nonprofit entity. This makes it eligible for Google Grant ads, and will help it increase web traffic. The project has launched a new consumer-friendly website Peanutbutterforthehungry.org. It also aims to increase its social media presence over the coming months. On the international front, the project is making progress to test market an RUTF for sale in Haiti.

Dr. Andrew Craig, Health Consultant to the American Peanut Council, has cited an inspiring example of a simple peanut butter-based invention that is making a profound impact. Michel Lescanne, named a finalist for European Inventor 2015, has introduced an innovative RUTF product called Plumpy’Nut. His company Nutriset recently won the Patents for Humanity Award from the U.S. government.

Plumpy’Nut is a non-perishable, instantly edible peanut paste that can be consumed without the need for preparation with water. This new tool to fight hunger has become the most important and used RUTF for UNICEF. Survival rate of children in crisis regions has improved significantly. The European Patents Office President Benoit Battistelli remarked that Lescanne has come up with an efficient answer to one of the most pressing problems of the 21st century.

Global partnerships between the industry leaders and nonprofits continue to be the most important way to utilize the power of peanut butter in combating hunger. Late last year, the Hershey Company, in partnership with Project Peanut Butter, opened the project’s newest manufacturing facility in Kumasi, Ghana.

The plant produces Project Peanut Butter’s peanut-based RUTFs endorsed by leading NGOs as the world’s most effective treatment for severe childhood malnutrition. Peanut-based RUTF has also been recommended by the WHO as a treatment for severe and acute malnutrition.

Source: 3BL Media