Social Business News

Transformers: a solution for malnutrition in developing countries

Malnutrition is a worldwide problem. Especially for children. The World Health Organisation estimates that malnutrition accounts for 54 percent of child mortality worldwide. But we can break this pattern. This week the World Food Programme (WFP) and Enviu pitched their business plan that could address malnutrition among schoolchildren in Kenya, and possibly throughout the whole world. The business plan got rewarded with a 95.000 USD from the World Food Program Innovation Accelerator. A great start, for a world changing idea.

After giving an inspiring presentation during World Food Program Innovation Accelerator Event in Munich, Diana Carter, Nutrition Officer-Kenya at World Food Programme, sounds energised:  “I’m a nutritionist by heart. Through the Transformers concept I’m achieving my passion by transforming the way we’re providing school meals to children Kenya”.

Since February this year, WFP and Enviu challenged themselves to diversify school meals in Kenya. Just like at home, school meals lack fresh fruits and vegetables. School meals have to be provided for 10 cents a meal or less. This limited budget, makes it a difficult to make a change to this system.

75.000 kilograms of food is discarded every day

However, there are great opportunities. Kenya provides 10% of the EU’s horticulture needs. 115.000 metric tons of fruits and vegetables are transported to the EU each year. Around 25% of that, is rejected for cosmetic reasons. That means that 75.000 kilograms of food is discarded every day.


This is what made WFP and Enviu come up with the Transformers concept. Transformers will make use of the rejected food and meet the needs of the school children. Fruits and vegetables that would normally be rejected, will be turned into fresh, nutritious meals for schoolchildren in Kenya.

Developing a social business in Kenya

If we use transformers, we are able to bring the costs down, to 9,4 cents per meal. Currently there’s no demand and there’s not a logistics company that can turn this opportunity into reality. Transformers will create this demand and solve the logistics solution. Rejected food will be picked up, prepared and send to the schools. This opportunity will create a durable business.

Photo: Greg Westfall

Starting in September 2016, the WFP Innovation Accelerator granted 95.000 USD. We need another 100.000 to match that. And take us into our validation stage. During this phase, we’ll innovate around distribution, packaging and storage. Currently we’re looking for entrepreneurs that are experienced in those areas.

Change the lives of 13 million children around the world

The Transformers concept has the potential to impact the lives of 78.000 schoolchildren in Nairobi and reduce waste by 1000 metric tons annually. Besides that, it’s a scalable concept. We can not only change the lives of children in Kenya. We can potentially change the lives of 13 million children around the world.