Hershey-Funded Operation Now Producing Life-Saving Therapeutic Food
Hershey-Funded Operation Now Producing Life-Saving Therapeutic Food
Accra, Ghana, December 17, 2014 /3BL Media/ – The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY), in partnership with Project Peanut Butter, today announced that the project’s newest manufacturing facility – located in Kumasi, Ghana -- is now beginning full operation. The new plant will produce Project Peanut Butter’s peanut-based Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTFs) endorsed by leading NGOs as the world’s most effective treatment for severe childhood malnutrition.
At full capacity, the plant will be able to produce approximately 20,000 peanut-based RUTFs each day, enough to treat approximately 48,000 children each year. It takes nearly 150 packets to treat one child, and the product has a 95 percent success rate.
Starting in January 2015, Project Peanut Butter will mobilize a traveling clinic in the central region of Ghana to distribute RUTFs to local children. The clinic will be funded through an additional $50,000 contribution from Hershey and its employees through a matching gifts program. Although Ghana is one of the strongest emerging economies in Africa, about 30,000 children suffer from severe malnutrition at any time.
“Hershey’s donation to Project Peanut Butter was the single largest donation we’ve received. While it gave us the freedom to think about ‘what’s possible’ instead of worrying about dollars, the truly invaluable piece has been their employees’ immense passion and willingness to share their food manufacturing expertise with us,” said Dr. Mark Manary, founder of Project Peanut Butter, a pediatrician and a professor of pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo. “In just one year we turned an empty, unconditioned warehouse into a U.S.-quality food manufacturing plant. Hershey’s input saved us months if not a year and we are now ready to begin treating children in Ghana,” added Dr. Manary.
Throughout 2014, Hershey sourcing experts have been on the ground working with Ghanaian peanut farmers on better planting and harvesting techniques that will increase productivity and expand Ghana’s peanut crop for the long term.
“Sustained food security is a key element in helping foster long-term economic growth in Africa,” said The Hershey Company’s CEO John P. Bilbrey, “One of our goals for this project is to help Ghana build its peanut farming industry to ensure strong, reliable sources of locally grown peanuts. This will not only provide a steady source of peanuts for the Project Peanut Butter plant, but will also pave the way for the future production of additional peanut-based foods and nutritional supplements for Ghana.”
Project Peanut Butter will seek to source its ingredients in country as well as hire and train local Ghanaians to work in the factory, supporting the local economy and providing good job opportunities.
Hershey’s support of Project Peanut Butter emanates from Hershey’s vision of encouraging the private sector to use its distinct expertise and financial resources to invest in the continued development of Africa, a region with untapped potential that is important to the entire world.
During the past year, 15 Hershey employees have worked more than 6,200 hours on the Project Peanut Butter plant. With more than 30 years of food manufacturing experience, the team advised on raw material sourcing, plant design and quality controls, including recommending changes to the peanut-grinding process to reach a finer peanut blend for a higher-quality RUTF. With Hershey’s input, the plant was designed to give Project Peanut Butter room to grow in the future.
“Watching the first nutritional packet come off the line was special. I’ve worked in food product development for 36 years, but visiting a mobile clinic and meeting mothers who had walked for days to get the peanut-based RUTF packets for their children was life-changing,” said Judy Cooley, Principal Scientist, The Hershey Company. “With the Ghanaian plant, Project Peanut Butter is giving mothers hope and children a chance for a brighter future.”
More than a decade ago, Dr. Manary developed a peanut-based RUTF, designed for home-based treatment. Manary’s therapeutic food doesn’t spoil, doesn’t need to be cooked, is portable, is easy for mothers to give in small amounts to their children at home and is energy dense. Ninety-five percent of children recover compared to 25 to 40 percent from traditional hospital therapies. Children recover in four to six weeks and will never require another treatment for severe malnourishment. The project focuses on treating children six months to five years of age, a very important developmental time both physically and cognitively that impacts the rest of a child’s life. Project Peanut Butter is now operating in Ghana, Malawi, and Sierra Leone.
About Project Peanut Butter
Project Peanut Butter is a revolutionary therapeutic program founded by Dr. Mark Manary, a medical doctor and a professor of pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo. It has been called the most effective method to treat malnourished children around the world. From 2000 to 2004, Dr. Manary and his teams tested various formulas with thousands of malnourished children in Malawi, Africa. Today, Project Peanut Butter serves thousands of malnourished children. The program distributes peanut-based, vitamin enriched nutritional packets called Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTFs) through 21 clinics, approximately 50 supported sites that receive RUTFs and training at no cost, and at affiliated clinics that receive RUTFs through approximately 90 governments and charities around the world that buy the packets at cost of manufacture.
About The Hershey Company
The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY), headquartered in Hershey, Pa., is a global confectionery leader known for bringing goodness to the world through its chocolate, sweets, mints and other great-tasting snacks. Hershey has approximately 13,000 employees around the world who work every day to deliver delicious, quality products. The company, which has more than 80 brands around the world that drive over $7.1 billion in annual revenues, includes such iconic brand names as Hershey's, Reese's, Hershey's Kisses, Jolly Rancher and Ice Breakers. Hershey is focused on growing its presence in key international markets while continuing to build its competitive advantage in North America. Additionally, Hershey is poised to expand its portfolio into categories beyond confectionery, finding new ways to bring goodness to people everywhere.
At Hershey, goodness has always been about more than delicious products. For 120 years, Hershey has been committed to good business by operating fairly, ethically and sustainably to make a positive impact on society. This means contributing to a better life for its employees, consumers, communities, and, ultimately, creating a bright future for children in need. This commitment is exemplified by Milton Hershey School, established in 1909 by the company's founder and administered by Hershey Trust Company. The children who attend the school receive education, housing, and medical care — thriving as direct beneficiaries of The Hershey Company's success.
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 UNICEF and WHO