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Competition Aims to Alleviate Dietary Calcium Shortfalls

BY: Mary Ellen Kuhn
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Increasing calcium intake among pregnant women in the Middle East and North Africa is the objective in the eighth annual Developing Solutions for Developing Countries student product development competition.

The preliminary phases of the competition have narrowed the field to six finalist teams who will compete for top honors in Chicago—three in the U.S./Canada segment of the contest and three in the international segment. 2016 finalists include the following teams and products.

United States/Canada

  • The California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo team developed Calihasa, a nutrient-dense, single-serving flavoring packet to be added to soups, stews, and porridges by pregnant women in Sudan. The packet mix, made from local ingredients, provides women with half their daily recommended calcium intake.
  • Fitamin Multimeal from the McGill University competitors is a ready-to-eat stew made of lentils, tuna, skim milk powder, tahini, carrots, and tomatoes with added eggshell powder to boost the calcium content. A portion of the stew—which is targeted to pregnant women in Yemen—can be combined with flour to make flatbread.
  • An egg shell–based powder called MagiCal to be added to bakery products or dips as a calcium supplement for pregnant women in the Middle East is the entry from the Rutgers University team.


  • The Universidad de Costa Rica team developed Hamilk, a shelf-stable, milk-based beverage designed with local Sudanese ingredients to help pregnant women in the Sudan increase their intake of calcium, protein, iron, vitamins A and D, folic acid, and water.
  • Sun-Ami, the entry from a Bogor Agricultural University team, is a traditional African flatbread with health benefits courtesy of ingredients that include moringa leaves, spinach, and groundnuts. It is high in calcium, iron, and folate.
  • Another team from Bogor Agricultural University made it to the finals with its entry, Creve, an instant vegetable cream soup made from spinach, okra, and milk. It is described as rich in calcium and dietary fiber.

Oral presentations for the competition, which is sponsored by Tate & Lyle, will take place from 2:30 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. on Sunday, July 17, in room S404bcd in McCormick Place. Team members will share their product solutions in 15-minute presentations, which will be followed by a roundtable question-and-answer session.

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