Updated January 24 at 4:24pm

Demand growing for food for malnourished children

By Richard Asinof
Contributing Writer
Demand for Edesia Inc. products – ready-to-use therapeutic food and ready-to use supplemental food for malnourished children – keeps surging, says founder and CEO Navyn Salem. More

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Health Matters

Demand growing for food for malnourished children

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Demand for Edesia Inc. products – ready-to-use therapeutic food and ready-to use supplemental food for malnourished children – keeps surging, says founder and CEO Navyn Salem.

In the last three years, the nonprofit company’s manufacturing facility on Royal Little Drive in Providence has nearly doubled its workforce to 48 employees and added new machinery to keep up with the demand for its high-energy peanut pastes known as Plumpy’Nut, Plumpy’Sup, Plumpy’Doz and Nutributter.

“You’re never too excited when demand increases to keep up with the growing crises around the world,” said Salem, explaining that the company’s ready-to-use food products are targeted to assist disadvantaged communities and refugees in emergencies and conflict zones.

At her home, while watching the news about the continuing crisis in Syria and the refugee problem, Salem said she recently saw an image of a child refugee eating one of her products. Edesia products are helping to feed some 2.5 million Syrians, according to U.S. government officials.

Since production began in 2010, Edesia has provided food products to more than 1.5 million children in 35 countries, including Chad, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Pakistan and Syria. The ready-to-use food products are distributed overseas through partnerships with agencies, including U.S. AID, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, UNICEF and the World Food Programme.

Last year, the Edesia facility produced and shipped more than 6,000 metric tons of food products, according to Salem.

Edesia’s increasing presence on the global stage has recently garnered recognition for the positive role the company plays. On Aug. 29, Salem hosted a tour of her facility by U.S. AID Administrator Rajiv Shah, who oversees the $50 billion-a-year agency, accompanied by Rhode Island’s congressional delegation and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras.

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