OP-ED: How start-ups are improving food safety and reducing food waste

Lack of availability of secure and nutritious food choices, and lack of affordability of nutrient dense food is driving a wedge in our food system 

Bangladesh has attained self-sufficiency in food manufacturing, however a major majority of the inhabitants suffers from deficiencies in vitamin A, vitamin D, calcium, zinc, and folic acid. 

These deficiencies in micronutrients have detrimental impacts on the cognitive improvement of youngsters, bodily development and contributes in direction of maternal and youngster mortality. These are occurring regardless of enough manufacturing of fruits and greens in Bangladesh. 

Sadly, near 30[1]% of fruits and greens are perished earlier than it reaches customers. Such losses have important impression on the affordability of nutrient dense fruits and the farmers don’t obtain a worth to maintain themselves afloat. 

The speedy urbanization of Bangladesh is escalating these challenges with lack of availability of agricultural land, lengthy worth chains and elongated worth chains rising the costs at client stage. 

According to World Bank 55%[2] of the inhabitants in city areas in Bangladesh lives in slums and they endure probably the most from the opposed impression of the food worth instability and malnutrition. The double burden of malnutrition that’s rising prevalence of each undernutrition and overnutrition is a serious public well being concern. 

In city areas, 37%[3] of girls (15-49) endure from weight problems and 45% of the kids under-5 are stunted in city slums. The adolescence is the final window of alternative for cognitive and bodily improvement however in city areas 47% of the adolescents are obese. 

The lack of availability of secure and nutritious food choices and the dearth of affordability of nutrient dense food is driving a wedge in our food system that may doubtlessly overburden our well being system.  

Moreover, food contamination and publicity to food hazards are persistent throughout the food chain in Bangladesh attributable to food adulteration, pesticide residues and microbiological contamination, amongst others. 

Food manufacturing can be contributing in direction of 70% of floor water depletion, the indiscriminate use of pesticide is threatening the native biodiversity and intense agriculture and aquaculture is contributing to chemical effluent within the water our bodies of Bangladesh. These unsustainable food manufacturing course of threatens the way forward for food safety and diet in Bangladesh.   

These challenges may appear overwhelming however there are few dynamic start-ups which are displaying gentle of hope in tackling a few of these endemic food system challenges. Jackfruit 360 co-founded by two grasp’s college students from Food Technology Department of Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU) has developed complete processing resolution for Jackfruits. 

In Bangladesh, 43.1% (FPMU, 2010) of Jackfruit are perished earlier than it reaches the patron. Proma Sen and her crew from Jackfruit 360 has developed air fried chips, flour (out of jackfruit seeds) and completely different different value-added merchandise manufactured from jackfruits which are extremely nutrient dense and solves the post-harvest loss drawback of Jackfruits. 

Ghost Kitchen Bangladesh manages 60,000 eating places beneath their cloud kitchen mannequin and their KitchOS 4.0 enterprise thought plans to enhance manufacturing effectivity, scale back food waste, and monitor food dealing with gear at eating places and business kitchens utilizing sensor based mostly IoT expertise. 

Inspira, a Delhi based mostly start-up based by Aman Jain seeks to increase its enterprise of peel-based food resolution to Bangladesh. Inspira has developed immediate soup utilizing banana peels at solely Tk8. These extremely nutrient dense soup options generally is a sport changer for assembly the dietary hole of most susceptible and low-income inhabitants in Bangladesh.  

Green Grain is a startup based mostly in Chittagong and its founder Tanvir Shakil is a pioneer of creating industrial manufacturing of cashew nut in Bangladesh. Cashew is a extremely nutrient dense nut however has been too costly for consumption by bigger inhabitants base in Bangladesh. 

Green Grain goals revolutionize the cashew trade of Bangladesh with the inclusion of BlockChain in sourcing of uncooked cashew nut and utilized IoT in processing for turning into probably the most superior cashew trade on the planet. 

Dr Recycle is a start-up which makes use of food waste to provide versatile vary of merchandise together with a fruit combine juice powder, potent complement for poultry trade and biofertilizers. Dr Recycle is creating financial worth addition to waste in addition to fixing the dietary problem throughout food system. 

Finally, iPage is a start-up that helps farmers to domesticate neatly by means of its data-driven, site-specific advisory service and market connectivity.

These progressive start-ups had been recognized and nurtured by means of the Food Frontiers: Urban Food Systems Innovation Challenge for youth entrepreneurs to carry disruptive innovation in city food system of Bangladesh. 

This Innovation Challenge was organized by the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Business Network (SBN) Bangladesh which is chaired by Ministry of Industries and co-convened by Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and supported by Stellar Value Partners (SVP) and Turtle Venture as its accelerator. 

Food Frontiers had three thematic areas which included Circular Food Flow Economy, Disruptive Technological Innovation, and Innovative Marketing Campaign. 

These ideas had been fully new within the start-up ecosystem so to construct the capability of the potential candidates. SBN with assist from SVP and Turtle Venture organized reside webinars with completely different enterprise faculty, engineering universities, agricultural universities and start-up hubs throughout Bangladesh. 

Campus Coordinators have volunteered to assist the applying course of in numerous universities and in start-up hubs. A powerful collective effort from all companions has ensured that Food Frontiers has acquired 85 very robust purposes. 

Subsequently a judging panel consisting of consultants in Food Technology, Commercialization, Investments and Nutrition impression has been convened. 

The high 15 applicant had been chosen based mostly on seven criterions which included diet impression, socio-economic impression, business viability, affordability, scalability, innovation and adaptability by means of intensive screening. 

Shortlisted candidates went by means of an intense spherical of weeklong bootcamp which coated subjects reminiscent of Sustainable Food System, Business Communication, Food Safety, Influencing Consumer Choices, Go to Market Strategy, Design Thinking, Business Canvassing, Story Telling and Pitching and Fund Raising. 

These trainings had been provided by famend consultants and thought leaders of their respective fields in order that the start-ups might get seasoned sensible recommendation on high quality tuning their enterprise mannequin, technique and strategy.   

The investor evening was organized on June 23, the place a few of the most famous impression traders like Tru Value Enterprise Limited, Anchorless Bangladesh. SEAF and Bangladesh Angels Network participated. 

Moreover, business traders such BRAC, NDB capital and Lanka Bangla Finance had additionally joined the investor evening. The finalists acquired an distinctive alternative to current their pitch in entrance of business, impression, enterprise capital and angel traders.  It helped the finalists get publicity to actual funding alternatives in addition to obtain sincere suggestions to enhance their pitch deck. 

On June 30, the Grand Finale of Food Frontiers Urban Food Systems Challenge occurred through on-line. In the ultimate around the judging panel included Piet Vochten, deputy nation director of WFP Bangladesh, Charlotte Pederson, senior advisor GAIN Denmark, Sharawwat Islam, CEO of Tru Valu Enterprise Limited, Dr Khondker A Mamun, founder CMED Health, Dr Imran Rahman, dean of School of Business University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB), Dr Gulzarul Aziz, Bangladesh Agriculture University (BAU) and Quamrun Nahar, senior analysis officer at BIRDEM. Similarly, to the primary spherical there have been seven criterions, and every decide was assigned to adjudicate one criterion.  

Dr Ruhul Amin Talukder (PPC), further secretary, Ministry of Agriculture joined the grand finale because the chief visitor, the Managing Director of SME Foundation Mafizur Rahman was the chair, Professor M A Alim, member, Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA), Dr Nadia Binte Amin, director, FBCCI, Ali Mushtaq Butt, business counsellor and head of Trade Embassy of Denmark and Anita Ghazi Rahman, member Investment Committee Start-up Bangladesh attended as particular company. 

The high 12 finalists offered their pitch decks with their progressive enterprise mannequin, diet impression and future plan with the company, multi-stakeholders, consultants from numerous sectors and judging panel. 

The judging panel did the scoring reside and the winners had been introduced on the identical evening on the finish of the occasion with big fanfare. The prizes for the Food Frontiers Urban Innovation Challenge had been divided in two segments an Infrastructure Award for Seed Stage Companies (corporations already in operations for 2-3 years) and Cash Innovation Award for early start-ups (college students and thought stage).  

Ghost Kitchen Bangladesh gained infrastructure award value $9000 as first prize, Green Grain gained infrastructure award value $6700 and iPage gained infrastructure award value $4300. In addition, Jackfruit 360, Inspira, and Dr Recycle was the winner of the primary money award of $2500, the second money prize value $1500 and the third prize value $1000 respectively.  

Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Business Network (SBN) over the subsequent few years will work with progressive corporations to make sure that these corporations can attain scale, market connectivity, entry to finance and technical help with assist from Government of Bangladesh, civil society companions, improvement companions, academia and the personal sector.  

Syed Muntasir Ridwan is the nationwide coordinator of SBN and director of Catalysing Sustainable Transformation (Cast) Research, Dr Ashek Mahfuz is the portfolio lead at GAIN, Mahmudul Hasan, is the programme affiliate at SBN and Meshkat Hossain Akanda is the personal sector specialist at GAIN   

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