Seven new healthy convenience food products have been developed under the EU-funded HealthyFoodAfrica (HFA) project to promote the consumption of healthy and nutritious diets in the country.
They are green leafy vegetables (jute leaves) with okro, fish chips, koobi (salted dried tilapia in oil), fish sausage, ‘koose’ (black-eyed pea) mix, fruity soy pancake, and instant cereal mix made of millet, maize or their combination.
Dr Amy Atter, a Senior Research Scientist at Council for Scientific Industrial Research-Food Research Institute, disclosed this to the Ghana News Agency during a training for food venders in Accra.
Over a dozen potential up takers made up of entrepreneurs, Small and medium-sized enterprises, food vendors, and chefs participated in the four-day of hands-on training at the CSIR-FRI.
She said the products developed from local crops and fish is aimed at helping to address challenges, including malnutrition, food waste and improve women’s livelihoods.
Dr Atter, who is also an HFA Co-Project lead, stated that although the total food products developed under the European Union funded project were 46, seven were being currently promoted for uptake.
“These value-added products are either ready-to-eat or semi-processed and will thus relieve women in particular- they are time and labour-saving, especially for urban dwellers. It will create more business opportunities for women, decrease post-harvest losses in general,” she said.
She advised food processors to use natural spices to prepare food instead of chemical additives, explaining that there were many improved healthy food technologies developed that required no use of chemical additives, maintained natural taste and prolonged the shelf life of food.
Dr Seth Agyakwah, the Project lead, said processing, handling and packaging of food were delicate, hence the need for processors to exercise the highest form of attention to detail to keep the nutritional value, tastes and ensure safety.
Ms Josephine Gomasie, Owner of Ndudu Foods, a commercial food vendor, said the training had equipped her with the knowledge and skills to produce improved fruity soy pancakes for diabetic patients, maize and millet mix for children.
“With the new techniques I have learned, I am going to add more dishes to my menu and employ more workers. We have so much as a country, it’s about time we utilised our produce and consume it to grow the economy,” she said.