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Low cost technologies and traditional ingredients for the production of affordable, nutritionally correct foods improving health in population groups at risk of poverty

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Meeting the nutritional needs of populations at risk of poverty

Over 80 million Europeans are currently at risk of poverty (ROP), and thus more likely to suffer from diseases related to poor nutrition. EU-funded researchers worked to develop novel food products that are nutritionally correct as well as affordable.

Health

The project CHANCE (Low cost technologies and traditional ingredients for the production of affordable, nutritionally correct foods improving health in population groups at risk of poverty) addressed the need for affordable, nutritionally correct food. Exploring the use of low-cost technologies and traditional ingredients, its ultimate goal was to produce food products that can be used to optimise the diets, and therefore health, of ROP populations. Dietary information was collected for all five CHANCE countries in order to describe the dietary patterns of ROP populations compared to an affluent population (AFF). Food consumption patterns and average daily nutrient intakes were compared with recommendations to identify the main nutritional criticalities. Some common trends were discovered, including the fact that consumption of cereals, meat products, eggs and sugar is higher in most ROP groups than in the corresponding AFF. In addition, consumption of fruit and vegetables is lower in ROP groups, while ROP individuals tend to eat less dairy products. Furthermore, ROP groups have significantly lower intakes of key vitamins. The team determined that although economic status is not the main determinant of onset of nutritional criticalities, purchasing power could be important for their correction with nutritionally improved foods. These should be as cheap as possible to impact the nutritional status of ROP groups. Data collected from ROP groups in the five participating countries showed that the most consumed foods or food groups are white flour, ham, cheese (soft and hard), and tomato (in the form of paste, pomace, ketchup or juice). As such, CHANCE developed low-cost ingredients suitable for the preparation of foods for ROP consumers. These include cooked ham with 5 % liver, tomato paste, pizza cheese and fibre-enriched bran. The project also developed prototypes of some affordable and tasty foods including, fibre-rich bread, berry soup, berry jam and berry shot. Production testing of all CHANCE food prototypes in existing industrial plants confirmed that there was no need for any substantial upgrade of available structures. ROP populations often resort to low-cost and nutritionally poor foods. Project outcomes can help to reduce poverty-associated social problems by giving more Europeans the right to a healthier and more economically viable diet.

Keywords

Risk of poverty, poor nutrition, food products, nutritionally correct, nutritional criticalities

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26 May 2020