By EDD K. USMAN
Twitter: @edd1819, Instagram: @bluestar0910, Facebook: Science, Digital & Current Affairs
(SDN) — READY-TO-EAT (RTE) Arroz Caldo, anyone?
If plans do not miscarry, an improved RTE Arroz Caldo shall be available in supermarkets for every Filipino.
By then, what was initially created for disaster victims shall then be available to the general public.
This future development emerged after a meeting on December 5, 2019 at the Industrial Technology Development Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-ITDI).
It was a meeting between Chief Nelia Elisa C. Florendo of the Technological Services Division (ITDI-TSD) and Kai-Anya Food, Inc. Plant Manager Milagros G. Bagaporo and her Quality Assurance (QA) Supervisor Marvin N. Malasa.
Their discussions focused, among others, on the food firm’s desire to pursue several product development plans for the ready to consume meal.
The Kai-Anya officials informed the ITDI officials their product development plans for RTE Arroz Caldo cover product improvement/reformulation, packaging system and design integration, product expansion, market positioning through Halal certification.
In their plans also is the possibility of making the food concoction available in supermarkets for the general public. It’s part of the company’s diversification of its product line.
Researchers of the ITDI created the RTE Arroz Caldo in 2014, in response to lessons learned in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan). Kai Anya is a technology adopter of the ITDI located at the DOST Compound in Bicutan, Taguig City, Metro Manila.
It can be recalled that the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda that barreled through parts of the Visayas exposed the government’s inadequacy in providing thousands of the affected families with quick servings of food. Many disaster survivors went hungry for several days because of the breakdown of local government units’ (LGUs) services and business establishments’ lack of resilience — damage to infrastructures and agriculture was massive (communication networks, roads, bridges, public institutions, farmlands, etc.)
ITDI took the cue from their. To make a long story short, Packaging Technology Division (ITDI-PTD) cooked up what it branded a “Pack of Hope,” which is known as the RTE Arroz Caldo with chicken.
The PTD headed by Daisy Tañafranca categorized the food concoction “as disaster food ready to eat without drinkables.”
“Without drinkables” is the characteristic that obviously sets the RTE Arroz Caldo apart from the emergency food stockpiles of LGUs and the Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD) — such as canned foods, noodles, coffee, rice and crackers.
The RTE Arroz Caldo does not need fire and water because it was already cooked and ready for consumption; for the usual emergency food supplies mentioned earlier, disaster victims have to have fire and water or electricity for heating them. But as “Yolanda” more than amply demonstrated, electricity, water, and gas were not available in the disaster zone.
And without electricity, water and gas preparing food was next to impossible. Disaster or not.
The ITDI cited Kai Anya’s goal of increasing its volume of production.
“To do this, Kai Anya is currently building a new facility. Further, a newly approved financial assistance from DOST’s Small Enterprises Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP) has enabled it to acquire a water retort, a new addition to their line of production equipment. Presently, product packaging is done through a private toll packing facility,” the DOST agency said.
At present, the company is already producing RTE Arroz Caldo packed in stand-up retort pouches that has a life span of one year. Kay-Anya produces and sells the product to DSWD for distribution as emergency relief goods for victims of disaster/calamities.
The ITDI-PTD developed the “Pack of Hope” food preparation which is expected to alleviate disaster victims’ agony through a complete meal in every pack — no need to add water and heat.
Tañafranca said they developed the RTE Arroz Caldo “as a disaster mitigation/relief food to address immediate hunger of disaster victims. It has a shelf life of one year.”
The packaging structure is sturdy, light and very handy, she added, and designed to withstand aerial distribution of about 800-1,000 feet for the distribution in flood areas or in disaster zone that cannot be reached by land because of damage to infrastructures. (SDN)