Fruit Leather: A wholesome product to promote fruit consumption in vulnerable settings and mitigate post harvest losses

Fruit leather; a value added nutritious product manufactured out of post-harvest losses; for people with limited access to fresh fruits

Photo of Adnan Khaliq
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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

Nur Foundation - Nur Center for Research and Policy

Year founded

2006

Initiative stage

  • Start-Up (a pilot that has just started operating)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $1k - $10k

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 50 - 100

Organization type

  • Nonprofit, NGO, or citizen sector

Secondary Focus Area

  • Nutrition

Headquarters location: Country

  • Pakistan

Headquarters location: City

Lahore

Location(s) of impact

Pakistan: Lahore, Faisalabad, Nowshera

Website

http://ncrp.nurfoundation.org/ (needs to be updated)

Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

Post-harvest losses keep farmers from entering local and international markets and raises cost of fruits in Pakistan. Consequently, fruit consumption in the population is low. This is more so for vulnerable refugees (3rd highest in Pakistan) who have curtailed land access, dependency on low micro-nutrient quality food aid, improper storage conditions and low socioeconomic status leading to micro-nutrient deficiencies.Wide availability of cheap unhealthy foods also means low consumption of fruits in school aged children.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

We are proposing “Fruit Leather” as a product to increase fruit and vegetable consumption among refugees and school going children. Fruit leather is made of dehydrated fruit pulp and can be consumed as a candy or snack. Combination of fruits can also be used to increase the flavor of the end product. Due to the low moisture content, fruit leather has a shelf life of at least 9 months and retains the nutritional content of pure wholesome fruit. In addition, this ready-made product overcomes the time taken in fruit consumption and is a convenient food assortment that can be made as a part of school lunches, can be an apt replacement for sugary sweets and can be distributed during food aid in refugee camps. With the increased shelf life it can be available in off season and is a much cheaper option to meet the daily servings of fruits than canned fruits. Through this product, farmers will also have a market to avoid post-harvest losses as well.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

Initially this technique has been adopted and scaled up among Army Services Corps Supply Depot in the city of Nowshera to produce fruit leather supplemented with skimmed milk as a snack for soldiers serving in hard areas. The ideas has gained momentum and fruit leather has been consumed by different military batches. However we want to scale this up to other vulnerable groups and increase access and affordability of fruits for them. The product can be supplemented and used for targeted deficiencies. By intervening in refugees, inter-generational malnutrition can be avoided. Furthermore, reduction of post-harvest fruit losses can provide a sustainable solution to increasing food availability, reduce pressure on natural resources, eliminate hunger and improve farmers’ livelihoods. Supplying fruit leather to school children as a part of school meals can increase their fruit consumption resulting in improved nutritional status and a more healthy and productive population.

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

This project is currently self-funded. However, we are looking for opportunities to scale up this project from a cottage scale pilot level to an industrial level. Possible avenues for future funding include UNHCR for refugees, confectionery industry that could take up its production and market the product under its’ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. In addition, we can market this product to the government who are currently in process of exploring and developing a national level school meal program. The idea can be further pitched to the military to use “fruit leather” as an instant source of energy for soldiers surviving in harsh conditions.

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

Currently in Pakistan, no company is producing fruit leather. We have demonstrated the feasibility on small scale and have gotten approval from institutional sensory board. The idea can be applied to multiple vulnerable groups. The fruits used are not spoiled & come from a window of production where they cannot be sold and are transformed into a nutritious snack with more shelf life. It can be also used with supplements to target deficiencies and will replace artificial sweets from the diet.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

As food science and nutrition professionals, we observed that product development using fruits in the food industry was limited apart from fruit juices, jams and jellies that were loaded with artificial food additives and mysterious sources of gelatin. The industry faces various challenges when dealing with fruit products such as bulk storage, shelf life on room temperature and quality sustenance in peak and off season as well due to their perishable nature. The increasing prevalence of micro-nutrient deficiencies as evident from the National Nutrition Survey of 2011 motivated us to come up with the idea for dried mango puree preparation; Pakistan being a mango producer country. We then experimented the idea on other fruit pulps to mitigate the shelf life issue, minimizing post-harvest losses and ultimately providing nutrient dense value added product to meet the needs of the population.

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Nestlé page or contact

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Photo of David Lipinski

Awesome idea! What's stopping you from scaling this project? You've been doing this since 2006, have you tried sourcing funding?

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