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Nutritious, Affordable, Regional Style of Food Available to Everyone Everywhere

Comida x un Dólar (Food for a Dollar)

2. Zero Hunger 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth 12. Responsible Consumption and Production Flourish Prize Finalist - For Business as an Agent of World Benefit - Weatherhead School of Management

Overview

The innovative process of food dehydration through lyophilization permits to maintain and preserve meals for almost twenty years without losing taste, nutrients, vitamins and minerals. This project aims to produce affordable and healthy homemade style meals that can help to reduce world hunger.

Authors

Catalina Cepparro

Catalina Cepparro

Alberto Candia

Alberto Candia

Micaela Vivallo

Micaela Vivallo

Sebastián Guim

Sebastián Guim

School

Pontificia Universidad Catolica Argentina

Pontificia Universidad Catolica Argentina

Professor

Aleandra Scafati

Aleandra Scafati

Innovation

This initiative consists of a variety of nutritious and regional Argentine meals made from local farmers´ produce that undergoes a physical-chemical process called lyophilization. This technique allows the food to preserve its quality over time and recovers its properties just by hydrating it again. Through lyophilization, the meals become dehydrated and lightweight, so it can be packed in small,dry portions at a low cost.

Another opportunity in developing this entrepreneurship is that the project helped local farmers address the transportation and logistical difficulties of selling their products in the markets.

The company is involved in the whole process, from dehydratation up to sales.

The entrepreneurs are Matías Sebely and Víctor Scholles (farmer) and the team of professionals are: Paula Sansovo (food engineer), Debora Velona (nutritionist), Damian Stevens (chemical engineer) and Viviana Stevens (pharmaceutical).

Nutritious, Affordable, Regional Style of Food Available to Everyone Everywhere

Inspiration

"Comida x un Dólar"- Food for a Dollar- is a combined inspiration of Victor Scholles and Matías Sebely.

Victor was involved in the vicious circle called "Planto" under which there is no market to sell local farming products. As a result, the farmers end up not planting, therefore, their land remains unused. Because of this situation, he decided to invest with the community of farmers in this project that offers a way to solve their business problem, while helping to reduce child malnutrition and hunger.

Matías used to say that in Argentina "pigs eat better than people.," and that was unacceptable for him. So he decided to partner up with Victor and develop a social initiative.

The name of the project, "Comida x un Dólar" -Food for a Dollar-, means that the company will commit to maintain each food ration at a dollar, no matter what, and for doing so, they work with seasonal products and different combinations of recipes.

Today the main clients of this enterprise are NGOs, local governments and companies that have projects to reduce hunger.

Overall impact

What is the Overall Impact of the Innovation?

The innovation makes several impacts:

1. It is a nutritious and balanced product.

2. It preserves the homemade flavor and promotes regional cuisine.

3. It is lightweight and can be preserved for up to 20 years without refrigeration, making it easy and cheap to transport and store.

4. Its presentation in small, dry portions makes it lower in cost compared to foods with the same nutritional value.

5. It helps with local, economic and social development, generating revenue for the local farmers and employment in the community.

Business benefit

The innovation of producing meals through lyophilization is at the core of the business. That is how the local farmers are able to sell their produce. Furthermore, through this ingenious proposal they can help to reduce hunger.

After three years the company is financially sound, showing a profit margin of about 25%, with a annual production of 900,000 food rations (in packages of 25 gr dehydrated).

The objective of the company is to achieve an annual production of 5,400,000 food rations and expand the meals variety. For this purpose they need a capital investment of US$ 35,000,000.

Social and environmental benefit

The company strenghtens the business of the local farmers, generating revenue, employment and production investment.

The company also encourages the production of food in a sustainable way, without agrochemicals and over-exploiting the soil.

Finally, if scalable, it can help reduce poverty and hunger. In Argentina, we are experiencing a high rate of poverty. More than 30% of the population are poor and children are the poorest, given that more than 50% of Argentine children are poor. As a consequence, they do not get an adequate nutritional and healthy diet for their proper growth.

Interview

Matías Sebely, Company Director

Photo of interviewee

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Comida x un Dólar (Food for a Dollar)

Comida x un Dólar (Food for a Dollar)

Leandro N. Alem, Misiones, AR

Business Website: https://www.comidaporundolar.com.ar/

Year Founded: 2015

Number of Employees: 2 to 10

The enterprise produces and sales ready to eat nutritious, affordable and homemade style meal rations, using an innovative process of food dehydration through lyophilization that permits to maintain and preserve meals packed in perfect conditions, for almost twenty years, without losing savor and quality.