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Innovative Farm2Kitchen Soup Launched

Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) have cooked up a new way to fight local food insecurity in Saskatchewan: a dry soup mix product to be distributed by Regina and Saskatoon Food Banks.

The Farm2Kitchen soup mix product is a collaboration between the USask College of Agriculture and Bioresources, the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS), Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre Inc. (Food Centre), and the Regina and Saskatoon Food Banks.

To address issues of food insecurity issues in Saskatchewan, USask researcher Dr. Michael Nickerson (PhD) partnered with the Food Centre to develop an affordable, easy to make and nourishing soup using crops grown in Saskatchewan.

The science behind the soup mix is based on a research project led by Nickerson, acting head of the Department of Food and Bioproduct Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Bioresources. Funded by GIFS, the goal of the project was to produce therapeutic food products made primarily from pulses and cereals that could respond to moderate to acute malnutrition within high-risk communities. The result was a shelf-stable, delicious, and highly nutritious soup. Better yet at a time of record food insecurity, and rising food costs, the soup is an affordable way for food banks to feed their communities.

“In proud prairie tradition we take care of our neighbors. At a time of record food insecurity we need innovation, collaboration, and our agriculture and food sector. We are grateful for our partners, and excited to expand the program across the country, so that more families can benefit from the most powerful form of nourishment, care”. David Froh, Vice President, Regina Food Bank.

In the original project, researchers investigated the protein quality of pulse and cereal crops and how to process them into food aid products for use in Ethiopia. The research team investigated blending ratios to maximize the nutritional benefits of the protein.

According to Food Banks Canada, the skyrocketing cost of food and housing, as well as high inflation and low social assistance rates, have contributed to the rise in food bank usage across the country. The Regina Food Bank states that one in five Saskatchewan children are food insecure. The soup mix product will help Saskatchewan food banks control food cost and feed more families, using cereals and pulses grown in the province. The food banks hope to expand the product across Saskatchewan and Canada to address supply demands.

Packed with protein and nutrients from lentils and oats, each soup packet makes four to five cups of soup when mixed with water. 15,000 packages have been produced at the Food Centre and will be shared in food hampers by the Regina and Saskatoon food banks.


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