Ready to Use Therapeutic Food Product to Alleviate Malnutrition in Children Using Insects

Period of Performance: 01/01/2013 - 12/31/2013


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

3751 SW 20TH AVE APT 1
Gainesville, FL 32607
Principal Investigator, Firm POC


Approximately 178-195 million children world-wide are malnourished. However, only about 3 percent of the 20 million with severe malnutrition receive treatment. Ready to use therapeutic foods (RUTFs) are greatly improving their nutritional status, with success as high as 95%. Animal-derived protein/nutrients are critical for childhood nutrition. However, most RUTFs contain milk as their animal protein source which is expensive, unsustainable and not feasible in many places. Insects present a significant alternative to milk, providing animal-sourced nutrients cheaper, more sustainably and with a lower ecological footprint. Thus, this proposal describes a method to utilize insects for providing animal-derived protein/nutrients to malnourished children. For our Phase I SBIR project we will: 1) optimize production of powdered insect, 2) develop RUTF formulations using powdered insect and 3) determine the feasibility of insect-based RUTF production. This work will be conducted by our firm as well as contract work with the University of Nebraska Food Processing Center. Our Phase I SBIR project we will determine: 1) how to efficiently produce insect powder as well as 2) nutrient content, flavor, texture, aroma, overall acceptability and pilot scale production methods for insect-based RUTF. This product will address the needs of a multi-million dollar RUTF market. For example, in 2011, UNICEF spent over $166 million on RUTF alone. In general, this project will develop new processes and technologies to produce insect-based food products and ultimately commercialize the production of these useful new food products that enhance the nutritional quality and value of foods.