Time filter

Source Type

In recent years, venture capital has poured into food companies, from meal kit and grocery delivery services to the makers of environmentally sustainable, or health-promoting food products. Now, investors and entrepreneurs from tech, food and the restaurant industry have launched a firm, and closed a $42 million debut fund called Powerplant Ventures, to invest specifically in “plant-centric” and “better for you” food and tech companies. The firm’s co-founding partners include ZICO Coconut Water founder Mark Rampolla, who sold his beverage business to Coca Cola in 2013; Kevin Boylan and T.K. Pillan, co-founders of the vegetarian restaurant chain, Veggie Grill, which has served 1.2 million guests over the past 90 days; and Dan Beldy, formerly the Managing Director of Disney’s venture capital arm, Steamboat Ventures. According to Beldy, Powerplant VC will do seed, Series A and B deals, writing checks up to $250,000 in a seed round, or between $1 million to $2 million dollar checks in Series A or B deals, more typically. Beldy also said the firm will look for what venture capitalists usually want in any industry: companies with at least a million in revenue and growing for earlier stage deals and startups with a strong team, differentiated products and great market potential at any stage. In later-stage deals, the firm is expecting to invest alongside of top-tier venture firms that also back consumer packaged goods and e-commerce startups, and corporate strategic investors in the food and beverage business. Why the emphasis on vegan and vegetarian products, or companies that sell and distribute them? Boylan said, referencing United Nations World Food Programme studies, “We’re not delivering the nutrition and wellness we need in a way that’s sustainable enough to feed a world population of 9 billion people by 2050. And raising livestock for food produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all of the world’s transportation systems, combined.” Beldy added that, besides the wish to invest in products and companies that can reduce pollution and feed the world without sacrificing health, Powerplant VC and its limited partners see huge consumer shifts in food consumption that will lead to high returns. “The scientific committee that advises the FDA recently said that a diet higher in plant based foods and lower in animal based foods promotes better health, and that’s going to have an impact on how Americans think about food. Of course. But Millennials have already changed the game in food. They are checking labels and want to know what is the origin of the things they are putting into their bodies. They want to eat healthier,” he said. “Ergo, demand will drive supply.” Powerplant Ventures is in good company investing in this shifting, massive market. Among other investors drawn to the food segment are: S2G Ventures, Obvious Ventures, CAVU Ventures, New Crop Capital and CircleUp. All of these are actively investing in food and beverage businesses with a health- and sustainability bent, as well. Powerplant’s plant-centric focus remains unique.The firm has already invested in 8 food and food tech startups including: Hail Merry, REBBL, Thrive Market, Terravia, Hampton Creek, Treasure8, and Juicero.

Karakochuk C.,University of Toronto | Van Den Briel T.,United Nations World Food Programme | Stephens D.,Child Health Evaluative science | Zlotkin S.,University of Toronto | And 2 more authors.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition | Year: 2012

Background: Moderate and severe acute malnutrition affects 13% of children <5 y of age worldwide. Severe acute malnutrition affects fewer children but is associated with higher rates of mortality and morbidity. Supplementary feeding programs aim to treat moderate acute malnutrition and prevent the deterioration to severe acute malnutrition. Objective: The aim was to compare recovery rates of children with moderate acute malnutrition in supplementary feeding programs by using the newly recommended ration of ready-to-use supplementary food (RUSF) and the more conventional ration of corn-soya blend (CSB) in Ethiopia. Design: A total of 1125 children aged 6-60 mo with moderate acute malnutrition received 16 wk of CSB or RUSF. Children were randomly assigned to receive one or the other food. The daily rations were purposely based on the conventional treatment rations distributed at the time of the study in Ethiopia: 300 g CSB and 32 g vegetable oil in the control group (1413 kcal) and 92 g RUSF in the intervention group (500 kcal). The higher ration size of CSB was provided because of expected food sharing. Results: The HR for children in the CSB group was 0.85 (95% CI: 0.73, 0.99), which indicated that they had 15% lower recovery (P = 0.039). Recovery rates of children at the end of the 16-wk treatment period trended higher in the RUSF group (73%) than in the CSB group (67%) (P = 0.056). Conclusion: In comparison with CSB, the treatment of moderate acute malnutrition with RUSF resulted in higher recovery rates in children, despite the large ration size and higher energy content of the conventional CSB ration. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as NCT 01097889. © 2012 American Society for Nutrition.

News Article | February 28, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

MOSUL/BAGHDAD, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S.-backed Iraqi forces on Tuesday battled their way to within firing range of Mosul's main government buildings, a major target in the offensive to dislodge Islamic State militants from their remaining stronghold in the western side of the city. Terrified civilians were fleeing the fighting, some toward government lines, often under militant fire. Others were forced to head deeper into Islamic State-held parts of the city, straining scarce food and water supplies there. Iraqi forces captured the eastern side of Mosul in January after 100 days of fighting and launched their attack on the districts that lie west of the Tigris river on Feb. 19. If they defeat Islamic State in Mosul, that would crush the Iraq wing of the caliphate the group's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared in 2014 over parts of Iraq and neighboring Syria. The U.S. commander in Iraq has said he believes U.S.-backed forces will recapture both Mosul and Raqqa - Islamic State's Syria stronghold - within six months. "The provincial council and the governorate building are within the firing range of the Rapid Response forces," a media officer with the elite Interior Ministry units told Reuters, referring to within machinegun range or about 400 meters (1,300 feet). Taking those buildings would help Iraqi forces attack the militants in the nearby old city center and would be of symbolic significance in terms of restoring state authority over the city. U.S.-trained Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) units battled Islamic State sniper and mortar fire as they moved eastwards through Wadi al-Hajar district to link up with Rapid Response and Federal Police deployed by the riverside, in a move that would seal off all southern access to the city. The militants set ablaze homes, shops and cars to hide their movement and positions from air surveillance. Satellite pictures also showed a fabric cover set up over a street in the old city center. Residents in districts held by the militants said they were forced to take their cars out of garages onto the street to obstruct the advance of military vehicles. Military engineers started repairing the city's southernmost bridge that Rapid Response captured on Monday. The bridge, one of the five in the city that were all damaged by air strikes, could help bring in reinforcements and supplies from the eastern side. Several thousand militants, including many who traveled from Western countries to join up, are believed to be in Mosul among a remaining civilian population estimated at the start of the offensive at 750,000. They are using mortar, sniper fire, booby traps and suicide car bombs to fight the offensive carried out by a 100,000-strong force made up of Iraqi armed forces, regional Kurdish peshmerga fighters and Iranian-trained Shi'ite Muslim paramilitary groups. About 14,000 have been displaced so far from western Mosul, according to the Iraqi government, taking the total number of people displaced from the city since the start of the offensive in mid-October to more than 175,000, according to the United Nations. About 270 civilians arrived early on Tuesday at the sector held by the CTS. The wounded were taken to the clinic, while men were screened to make sure they are not Islamic State members. An officer called out the name Mushtaq and one man stood up. Another officer said they had received information that a militant called Mushtaq was hiding among the displaced. One man was carrying a woman who had lost consciousness after her son was wounded by shrapnel as they fled the Tal al-Rumman district. Another man, Abu Ali, arriving from Tal al-Rumman with his four young children, said Islamic State militants had killed their mother three months ago after she went out with her face uncovered. He said he had found her body in the mortuary, adding: "I would drink their blood." His family had been surviving on bread and wheat grain since Iranian-trained Iraqi Shi'ite militias severed supply routes from Mosul to Syria, essentially besieging western Mosul. The United Nations World Food Programme said on Monday it was extremely concerned about the dire humanitarian situation facing families in western Mosul. Army, police, CTS and Rapid Response units forces attacking Islamic State in western Mosul are backed by air and ground support from a U.S.-led coalition, including artillery fire. U.S. personnel are operating close to the frontlines to direct air strikes. American soldiers were in MRAPs armored vehicles on the Baghdad-Mosul highway, near a billboard welcoming visitors to the Islamic State, "the caliphate that follows the example of the Prophet."

Roks E.,United Nations World Food Programme | Roks E.,Royal DSM
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences | Year: 2014

Micronutrient deficiencies affect over two billion people worldwide, particularly in developing countries. Fortification of staple foods with multiple micronutrients is a cost-effective strategy to increase vitamin and mineral intake. The objective of this paper is to review the cost elements of industrially fortified rice by identifying the costs related to the implementation of rice fortification programs, using the experience of the United Nations World Food Programme in its pilot countries. The actual total costs of rice fortification are not easily captured. Core cost elements include the production of fortified rice kernels, transportation to the point of blending, blending of fortified with unfortified rice, costs related to sales or distribution, quality control and assurance, and additional planning. In the introduction phase, organizations or coalitions seeking to advance rice fortification will face additional costs related to the initiation of rice fortification. In the scale-up phase, greater efficiency in the supply chain and economies of scale can be expected. Different cost elements are normally borne by different stakeholders. This makes the implementation of rice fortification programs a feasible option to reach vulnerable populations with inadequate access to affordable nutrition solutions. © 2014 New York Academy of Sciences.

Bundy D.A.P.,The World Bank | Drake L.J.,Imperial College London | Burbano C.,United Nations World Food Programme
Public Health Nutrition | Year: 2013

Objective An analysis undertaken jointly in 2009 by the UN World Food Programme, The Partnership for Child Development and the World Bank was published as Rethinking School Feeding to provide guidance on how to develop and implement effective school feeding programmes as a productive safety net and as part of the efforts to achieve Education for All. The present paper reflects on how understanding of school feeding has changed since that analysis. Design Data on school feeding programme outcomes were collected through a literature review. Regression models were used to analyse relationships between school feeding costs (from data that were collected), the per capita costs of primary education and Gross Domestic Product per capita. Data on the transition to national ownership, supply chains and country examples were collected through country case studies. Results School feeding programmes increase school attendance, cognition and educational achievement, as well as provide a transfer of resources to households with possible benefits to local agricultural production and local market development. Low-income countries exhibit large variations in school feeding costs, with concomitant opportunities for cost containment. Countries are increasingly looking to transition from externally supported projects to national programmes. Conclusions School feeding is now clearly evident as a major social programme in most countries with a global turnover in excess of $US 100 billion. This argues for a continuing focus on the evidence base with a view to helping countries ensure that their programmes are as cost-effective as possible. Clear policy advice has never been more important. Copyright © The Authors 2012.

Gelli A.,Imperial College London | Espejo F.,United Nations World Food Programme
Public Health Nutrition | Year: 2013

Objective To provide an overview of the status of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of school feeding across sub-Saharan Africa and to reflect on the experience on strengthening M&E systems to influence policy making in low-income countries. Design Literature review on the M&E of school feeding programmes as well as data from World Food Programme surveys. Setting Sub-Saharan Africa. Subjects Countries implementing school feeding. Results Only two randomized controlled impact evaluations have been implemented in sub-Saharan Africa. Where M&E data collection is underway, the focus is on process and service delivery and not on child outcomes. M&E systems generally operate under the Ministry of Education, with other Ministries represented within technical steering groups supporting implementation. There is no internationally accepted standardized framework for the M&E of school feeding. There have been examples where evidence of programme performance has influenced policy: considering the popularity of school feeding these cases though are anecdotal, highlighting the opportunity for systemic changes. Conclusions There is strong buy-in on school feeding from governments in sub-Saharan Africa. In response to this demand, development partners have been harmonizing their support to strengthen national programmes, with a focus on M&E. However, policy processes are complex and can be influenced by a number of factors. A comprehensive but simple approach is needed where the first step is to ensure a valid mandate to intervene, legitimizing the interaction with key stakeholders, involving them in the problem definition and problem solving. This process has been facilitated through the provision of technical assistance and exposure to successful experiences through South-South cooperation and knowledge exchange. Copyright © The Authors 2012.

Baldi G.,United Nations World Food Programme
Food and nutrition bulletin | Year: 2013

The Minimum Cost of a Nutritious Diet (MCNut) is the cost of a theoretical diet satisfying all nutrient requirements of a family at the lowest possible cost, based on availability, price, and nutrient content of local foods. A comparison with household expenditure shows the proportion of households that would be able to afford a nutritious diet. To explore using the Cost of Diet (CoD) tool for policy dialogue on food and nutrition security in Indonesia. From October 2011 to June 2012, market surveys collected data on food commodity availability and pricing in four provinces. Household composition and expenditure data were obtained from secondary data (SUSENAS 2010). Focus group discussions were conducted to better understand food consumption practices. Different types of fortified foods and distribution mechanisms were also modeled. Stark differences were found among the four areas: in Timor Tengah Selatan, only 25% of households could afford to meet the nutrient requirements, whereas in urban Surabaya, 80% could. The prevalence rates of underweight and stunting among children under 5 years of age in the four areas were inversely correlated with the proportion of households that could afford a nutritious diet. The highest reduction in the cost of the child's diet was achieved by modeling provision of fortified blended food through Social Safety Nets. Rice fortification, subsidized or at commercial price, can greatly improve nutrient affordability for households. The CoD analysis is a useful entry point for discussions on constraints on achieving adequate nutrition in different areas and on possible ways to improve nutrition, including the use of special foods and different distribution strategies.

Howe P.,United Nations World Food Programme
Disasters | Year: 2010

Famines have long been characterised by rapidly shifting dynamics: sudden price spirals, sharp increases in mortality, the media frenzy that often accompanies such spikes, the swift scaling up of aid flows, and a subsequent decline in interest. In arguing that these aspects of famine have been largely ignored in recent years due to attention to the famine process', this paper attempts to make these dynamics more explicit by applying systems thinking. It uses standard archetypes of systems thinking to explain six situations-watch, price spiral, aid magnet, media frenzy, overshoot, and peaks-that are present in many famine contexts. It illustrates their application with examples from crises in Ethiopia, Malawi, Niger, and Sudan. The paper contends that the systems approach offers a tool for analysing the larger patterns in famines and for pinpointing the most appropriate responses to them, based on an awareness of the dynamics of the crises. © 2009 Overseas Development Institute.

Frega R.,United Nations World Food Programme
Food and nutrition bulletin | Year: 2012

Linear programming has been used for analyzing children's complementary feeding diets, for optimizing nutrient adequacy of dietary recommendations for a population, and for estimating the economic value of fortified foods. To describe and apply a linear programming tool ("Cost of the Diet") with data from Mozambique to determine what could be cost-effective fortification strategies. Based on locally assessed average household dietary needs, seasonal market prices of available food products, and food composition data, the tool estimates the lowest-cost diet that meets almost all nutrient needs. The results were compared with expenditure data from Mozambique to establish the affordability of this diet by quintiles of the population. Three different applications were illustrated: identifying likely "limiting nutrients," comparing cost effectiveness of different fortification interventions at the household level, and assessing economic access to nutritious foods. The analysis identified iron, vitamin B2, and pantothenic acid as "limiting nutrients." Under the Mozambique conditions, vegetable oil was estimated as a more cost-efficient vehicle for vitamin A fortification than sugar; maize flour may also be an effective vehicle to provide other constraining micronutrients. Multiple micronutrient fortification of maize flour could reduce the cost of the "lowest-cost nutritious diet" by 18%, but even this diet can be afforded by only 20% of the Mozambican population. Within the context of fortification, linear programming can be a useful tool for identifying likely nutrient inadequacies, for comparing fortification options in terms of cost effectiveness, and for illustrating the potential benefit of fortification for improving household access to a nutritious diet.

News Article | February 28, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

Displaced Iraqi women who just fled their home,rest in the desert as they wait to be transported while Iraqi forces battle with Islamic State militants in western Mosul, Iraq February 27, 2017. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra SOUTH OF MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraqi forces seized a damaged Mosul bridge on Monday which could link up their units on either side of the Tigris river, as thousands of civilians fled the fighting for Islamic State's remaining stronghold in the west of the city. U.S.-backed army and police units advanced through populated western districts, fighting tough street battles, and announced they had captured Mosul's southernmost bridge. Once repaired, the bridge could help bring reinforcements and supplies from the eastern side, piling pressure on the militants dug in the western side among 750,000 civilians. Iraqi forces captured eastern Mosul in January, after 100 days of fighting. They launched their attack on the districts that lie west of the Tigris a week ago. If they defeat Islamic State in Mosul, that would crush the Iraq wing of the caliphate that the group's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared in 2014 over parts of Iraq and neighboring Syria. The U.S. commander in Iraq has said he believes U.S.-backed forces will recapture both Mosul and Raqqa - Islamic State's Syria stronghold - within six months. Since government forces broke through the city's southern limits on Thursday, more than 10,000 civilians have fled Islamic State-held areas, seeking medical assistance, food and water, Iraqi commanders said. About 1,000 civilians arrived in the early hours of Monday at the sector held by the Counter Terrorism Service (CTS), the wounded taken to the clinic of this elite unit, while men were screened to make sure they are not Islamic State members. Among the people treated at the CTS clinic was a little girl with a blood on her face and a woman with shrapnel in her hand, lying immobile, apparently unconscious. An old man who came with them said about 20 people were sheltering in their house when it was hit by an air strike two days ago in the southwestern Maamoun district. Those who managed to escape have had to walk through the desert for at least an hour to reach government lines. Several thousand militants, including many who traveled from Western countries to join up, are believed to be still in Mosul, prepared for a fierce standoff amid a remaining civilian population of 750,000. The United Nations World Food Programme said on Monday it was extremely concerned about dire humanitarian situation facing families in western Mosul. A Reuters reporter saw several trucks teeming with people, lifting columns of sand and dust as they drove away from the city. One had two women and infants riding in the cabin. The rest stood on the open bed, held on to the truck from outside, or sat on top of the cabin. "They booby trapped our homes and our cars," said an old woman. A Western volunteer medic at the CTS clinic said a boy with a gunshot wound that shattered his knee was among those treated on Monday, and a pregnant woman who had both legs amputated. "Most of those who arrive to this point are hungry and thirsty and suffering neglect, and need medical care," CTS Brigadier General Salman Hashim told Reuters. Army, police, CTS and Rapid Response units forces attacking Islamic State in west Mosul are backed by air and ground support from U.S.-led coalition, including artillery fire. U.S. personnel are operating close to the frontlines to direct air strikes. Iraqi troops have already captured the southern and western accesses to western Mosul, dislodging the militants from the airport, a military base, a power station and three residential district, al-Maamoun, al-Tayyaran and al-Josaq, according to military statements. "The more we advance, the fiercer the resistance," said Lt. Colonel Abdel Amir al-Mohammadawi, from the Rapid Response units that are fighting near the southernmost bridge, one of five spanning the Tigris. All of them were damaged in strikes by the U.S.-led air coalition, and later by Islamic State fighters trying to seal off the western bank still under their control. Iraqi forces have reached 1 kilometer (less than 1 mile) from the old city center and the main government buildings, the capture of which would effectively mean the fall of Mosul. The militants are using mortar, sniper fire, booby traps and suicide car bombs to fight off the offensive. They are facing a 100,000-strong force made up of Iraqi armed forces, regional Kurdish peshmerga fighters and Iranian-trained Shi'ite Muslim paramilitary groups.

Loading United Nations World Food Programme collaborators
Loading United Nations World Food Programme collaborators