SA Harvest, a renowned food rescue and hunger relief organisation, is proud to announce its latest innovation in the fight against hunger — a bespoke technology platform developed for the tracking and analysis of the nutritional value of food it delivers. This move underscores the organisation’s commitment to ensuring the food it provides goes beyond simply feeding people. SA Harvest believes that the right to nutritious food as stipulated in Section 28 of the South African constitution has to be a top priority with all food rescue operations. This belief has been a cornerstone of the organisation’s operating policy since its inception in October 2019.
Developed in response to SA Harvest founder Alan Browde’s concern over inadequate nutrition, particularly in children, SA Harvest’s state-of-the-art technology assesses the nutritional content of the food parcels dispatched to over 200 beneficiary organisations across the country.
The nutrition tracker employs trustworthy data from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), identifying 60 essential nutrients in over 1,000 food items. It calculates the weight of each micro and macro nutrient relative to the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA), contributing to a holistic view of the nutritional value of food ‘bundles’ delivered to SA Harvest’s beneficiary organisations. The tracker includes a scoring system that rates the nutritional value of the food bundle, setting a potential industry-wide standard for hunger relief efforts.
In addition to nutrition tracking, SA Harvest’s dashboard provides an aggregate of data, useful for identifying specific nutritional needs and shaping future procurement focus. Furthermore, warehouse personnel can use this data when assembling food bundles, ensuring a balanced nutritional content.
Commenting on this development, Browde said, “Lack of nutrition is one of the greatest scourges of South African society, with over two million children (three out of ten) suffering stunting as a result. From a food rescue and delivery point of view, one of the challenges in South African hunger relief practice is that too much maize and other starch is delivered. While carbohydrates are vital as part of a balanced diet, it is only one element of a fully nutritious food basket.
“At SA Harvest, we have always emphasised the importance of nutritious meals. This technology allows us to measure the average nutritional value of our million meals delivered per month. It’s part of our continuous commitment to ensuring dedicated focus on delivering balanced nutritional bundles to our beneficiary organisations and contributing towards reducing the scourge of childhood stunting.”
SA Harvest also has provisions in place to supplement deliveries with high nutritional value food, if needed, underlining its dedication to combating hunger while prioritising nutrition.
The nutritional tracking has been integrated into SA Harvest’s bespoke technology platform, which enables complete transparency of where food is being rescued from and where it ends up, and the logistics involved in getting it there. The organisation’s proprietary technology platform allows for knowledge and data sharing with NGOs and other key stakeholders in the food rescue and hunger relief space, which ultimately enables the collaboration needed to build solutions.
Since its inception in October 2019, SA Harvest has delivered over 42.1 million meals and rescued 12.7 million kilograms of food from going to waste. The organisation prioritises the right to nutritious food, investing in innovative solutions to achieve its mission.