The food must be highly nutritious, favored by the public (consumers), and able to be sold at an affordable price.
Jakarta (ANTARA) – The National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) is conducting research on making nutritious food, such as noodles, using local ingredients and enriching its nutritional content to help the community fight stunting.
“The food must be highly nutritious, favored by the public (consumers), and able to be sold at an affordable price,” researcher at BRIN’s Food Technology and Processing Research Center (PRTPP) Dini Ariani said, according to a statement issued here on Monday.
She stated that one of the factors that have encouraged the research is the high stunting rate in Indonesia caused by the lack of iron in young mothers.
Hence, several raw materials, including modified cassava, tapioca, and rice flour, are being explored as ingredients for noodles.
However, she noted that cassava flour is low in protein, thus additional ingredients, such as tempeh flour and Moringa leaves (Moringa oleifera), which are high in minerals, will be required to help prevent stunting.
According to the Indonesia Nutrition Status Study (SSGI) conducted by the Health Ministry, the stunting prevalence in Indonesia in 2021 was 24.4 percent. The figure showed a decline of 3.3 percent compared to 2019, when it was recorded at 27.7 percent.
Compared to other Southeast Asian countries, the stunting rate in Indonesia is higher than Vietnam (23 percent), Malaysia (17 percent), Thailand (16 percent), and Singapore (4 percent).
Earlier, the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT), which has been integrated with BRIN, had produced a nutritious side dish called Purula, or superior seaweed peptide, to fight stunting.
The flake-shaped dish was fortified with iron to prevent anemia. Mothers who suffer from anemia and have low body mass index can give birth to stunted babies, thereby hampering the development of children.
Purula contains soy protein hydrolysate peptides, which can increase nutrient absorption, as well as seaweed, which is rich in micronutrients and fiber.
In addition, it is fortified with 10 vitamins and two minerals. Purula is a ready-to-eat product that can be consumed by sprinkling it on rice, noodles, porridge, eggs, bread, and other foods.