Many food start-ups are focused on the delivery or meal innovation angles. However, a Mumbai based start-up, Science for Society (S4S Technologies) has developed technology to prevent undernourishment in rural areas. S4S Technologies is using solar energy to preserve seasonal produce which can be used to battle food shortages and malnutrition.
S4S Technologies has developed a solar conduction dryer or a food de-hydrator which uses radiation technology to dry out fruits and vegetables. When they are ready to be consumed, the dehydrated fruits and vegetables can be placed in water, following which they will regain their original properties.
The company already tested it in a couple of villages in Maharashtra by giving it to 230 rural women to use during a two year project. The women were able to successfully dehydrate onions, spinach, dried ginger, mangoes and papaya. These were then used during ‘lean’ seasons where there were no crops to be harvested.
“During the lean season, women end up eating starchy food. They boil potatoes with salt and some spice; all of which has no nutrition,” said Vaibhav Tidke, chief executive officer, S4S, to the Hindustan Times. “Dehydrating locally available seasonal food and cooking it improved the women’s haemoglobin count by an average of one point — from 8g/dL to 9g/dL, for instance,” he added.
The women were also able to sell the surplus dehydrated vegetables, giving them an additional source of income.
The solar conduction dryer is patented technology and costs significantly less than other solar dryers.