NAME OF PROJECT: MOLINITOS*
*(Molinitos means small food grinders in Spanish)
MOLINITOS is a qualitative research project that evaluated food grinders and their role in increasing animal food product consumption and micronutrient intake in the complementary diets of nursing children in Northern Perú.
When breastfeeding is not enough to provide the infant’s nutritional needs, complementary foods are introduced as part of the child’s diet to meet the nutritional requirements for adequate growth and development (WHO). Unfortunately in many regions of the world, including large parts of Perú, mothers and other caretakers prefer to give low micronutrient preparations like soups and starchy food as first complementary foods to nursing infants, and introduction of solid-animal source foods is delayed until the child is almost 12 months. There is a consensus among nutrition researchers that more animal-source foods, particularly meats, eggs, and fish should be promoted and consumed as a local food-based strategy.
A new technology (manual food grinder) was introduced to two different populations in northern Peru with the intention of increasing animal food product consumption of young children (6 to 15 months). The study showed that the food grinders increased animal source food intake by over threefold in young children. Mothers perceived that the time of preparation of animal source foods was lower with food grinders, and consumption of governments provision of micronutrient powders increased in the child’s diets. The increase in animal source food intake coupled with increased consumption of micronutrient powders significantly increased intakes of energy, protein, iron, zinc, folate, vitamin A, calcium and vitamin C. The team is currently seeking funding for a follow-up efficacy study.
Quote from a mother during the study:
“I have given chicken liver, chicken, hen, guinea pig, and egg…before she (my daughter) didn’t eat either meat or egg (6 m)”