We spent the final day of our visit to Ethiopia at the Hilina Enriched Foods Plant aka Peanut Heaven (to us)! As you're all very aware, the Horn of Africa is currently experiencing the worst humanitarian crisis of our lifetime, and we were able to see up close and personal the extensive (yet very efficient) process to create one of the greatest innovations in the ready-to-use therapeutic feeding space, Plump'y Nut!
© U.S. Fund for UNICEF | Suruchi Ahuja, Bettina Barrow and Danielle Abraham in the Plumpu ‘Nut factory in Addis – hairnets and all!
So what exactly is Plumpy'Nut? Well…..In simplest terms, it's a fortified peanut butter type paste that is given to malnourished children as well as those living with HIV/AIDS undergoing ARV treatment. It's made from peanuts, oil, sugar, skimmed milk and enriched with plenty of vital nutrients and minerals. It requires no water, refrigeration or preparation and can be administered without any medical supervision. We toured the plant and saw the entire process to create Plumpy'Nut. Peanuts are sorted, cleaned, roasted, blanched, sorted again (by hand), mixed with oil and other ingredients, packaged, labeled and boxed.
© U.S. Fund for UNICEF | Suruchi Ahuja, Leslie Goldman, Bettina Barrow and Casey Rotter tasting Plumpy ‘Nut.
A sample from each new batch produced is sent to UNICEF in Copenhagen for testing before being distributed to ensure there is no fungus. In 2006 when the facility first started producing Plumpy'Nut, they were making about 40 metric tons a month. In 2011, that is the production per DAY (demand has increased in the past 5 years)! This facility also exports to some other African countries and Yemen. Oh and if you're wondering about the taste, imagine the inside part of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. Yup, it's THAT good! To support those in dire need in the Horn of Africa, please direct contributions here. You can also send Plumpy ‘Nut/Therapeutic food to a child in need right now. If you’re looking to get involved with Next Gen, let us know!