Instant, fortified meals

There has recently been a proliferation on the South African market of instant, pre-cooked maize-and-soy meal products, typically sold and distributed informally, with an unspoken message that they are HIV/AIDS foods.
Most of the producers of these new porridges aspire to exporting their mixes to the rest of Africa, where there is awareness o {mosimage}There has recently been a proliferation on the South African market of instant, pre-cooked maize-and-soy meal products, typically sold and distributed informally, with an unspoken message that they are HIV/AIDS foods.
Most of the producers of these new porridges aspire to exporting their mixes to the rest of Africa, where there is awareness of, and demand for them. The Kenneth Kaunda Foundation in Zambia, for instance, has been evaluating ePap, one of the oldest of the brands, for the past two years.
All the products feature lengthy ingredients tables on their packaging. They are marketed mainly through informal channels to poor and HIV-infected people. The bulk is purchased by NGOs (non-governmental organisations) for free distribution by feeding schemes, and by clinics, hospitals and churches, but many chemists and some retailers in SAs big cities sell them.
New brands on the SA market include Go Family Cereal by TRRC Nutrition, Soya Life Porridge by Specialised Protein Products, Power Mix and Angels Mercy (the latter aimed specifically at women) manufactured by Unique Nutrition, Power Pap by Energy Supplements, Nutri Balm by Snebon Nutritional Products, and Vitameal and Ezee Pap by Ayos Foods.
Their ingredients lists are much the same – precooked maize, pre-cooked soy protein and a multitude of vitamins and minerals.
Promotional wording typically highlights “instant power”, “energy boost” and “immune boost”.
Although some nutritionists and food scientists criticise the manufacturers of many of the mixes for making extravagant claims which have not been tested in intervention studies, Johannesburg inner-city retailers report good demand for the products.
Basil Kransdorff of Econocom Foods, which manufactures e’Pap, says his product was initially formulated as a nutritional food supplement to be used in food parcels for an NGO, Community Aids Response (CARE), which supports people living with HIV in clinics and hospitals SAs Gauteng province. From this stems its reputation as an AIDS food.
Says Kransdorff: “The formulation strategy of e’Pap is to make available to the poor, at an affordable cost, a balanced diet through the daily delivery of 28 micro- and macronutrients in a single food portion. At the same time, e’Pap technology, which is imported, tries to overcome the technical challenges such an approach entails to ensure the body absorbs these nutrients.”
Econocom: Basil Kransdorff, tel+27-11-726-5634; fax: +27-11-482-4769; basilb@iafrica.com
SPP: Jan Labushagne, tel++27-18-293-3222; fax +27-18-293-3321
TRRC: Riaan Janeke, tel +27-11-472-9326; info@trrc.co.za Unique Nutrition: tel +27-16-362-4716;
Ayos Food: Sandra Jona, tel +27-11-794-4863; info@ayos.co.za