Innovation For Nutrition: Millhouse Pioneers a Smartfill Solution to Combat Malnutrition in Schools

Fortified food producer Millhouse has teamed up with digital transformation consultancy DYDX and start-up Smartfill to introduce an innovative, self-dispensing nutrition solution at the Julukandoda Primary School in Hilton, KwaZulu-Natal.

Smartfill technology is being used to provide Millhouse Africa’s fortified nutrition mix – ENDGAME – to students. The scaleable Project ENDGAME partnership aims to tackle the alarming rate of malnutrition among African children, which affected over 61 million children in 2021.

The problem of acute malnutrition exacerbates the already high levels of food insecurity in South Africa.

The South African Child Gauge reveals that approximately 60% of children in the country live below the poverty line with 6.4 million children living beneath the food poverty threshold.

The BMC Nutrition Journal shows that stunting, a glaring manifestation of chronic malnutrition, affects 27% of South African school-aged children, revealing that children are not receiving the essential nutrition required for their physical growth and cognitive development. The introduction of the Smartfill system and ENDGAME nutrition mix in schools presents a potential solution to this pressing concern.

Millhouse manufactures unique vitamin and micronutrient blends from its specialised plant in Dube Tradeport. André Redinger, CEO of Millhouse, says, “Feeding schemes exist, but the fight extends beyond filling stomachs – to truly win, we need to strengthen bodies and minds.

“So we imagined a world where every child gets the vitamins and minerals they need to reach their full potential, and came up with ENDGAME: a powerful, cost-effective and sustainable revolutionary force igniting positive change where it’s needed the most.”

The ENDGAME nutrient blend is a carefully formulated supplement that boosts immunity, supports vision, aids nerve function, and fuels energy production. The Millhouse food supplement scheme across Africa already helps this blend to reach more than three hundred thousand children, but with complications wasting money and resources, Millhouse needed an out-of-the-box solution, says Redinger.

Combining Smartfill’s innovative technology and DYDX’s human-centred design skills, the new ENDGAME dosing unit is an automated, self-dispensing, free-standing unit that can be easily rolled out across Africa. It provides an efficient, technology-driven solution that is cost-effective, efficient, hygienic and helps to manage supply chain issues.    

The technology behind this dispenser, initially developed to facilitate package-less retail, solves key challenges, including the cost of management, improved logistics and access to data in real-time—all in a secure loT environment.

Students are able to dispense pre-mixed quantities and facial recognition technology tracks participation. The dispenser sensors provide stock levels to the school and the supplier, simplifying restocking and distribution.

Nevo Hadas, a partner at DYDX, says, “School feeding is a powerful tool to alleviate short-term hunger and enhance children’s learning capacities. We’re excited to partner with Millhouse to tailor our Smartfill product and apply it to school feeding needs.

“Our Smartfill technology with complete traceability will ensure that every investment and donation to school feeding directly impacts lives. Using cutting-edge technology, it transcends traditional limitations, setting new standards in accountability and impact measurement.”

Redinger adds, “It’s not just technology; it’s an auditable precision weapon that aims to help each child reach their full potential with no wasted resources. ENDGAME is a life-changing solution for these kids. We’re fighting a battle for well-nourished bodies and minds, hungry only to fulfil their potential.”

While Smartfill alone may not solve hunger in Africa, it represents the type of innovative thinking that, combined with other efforts, could make a significant impact.

“This is just the start. Partners are invited to support the initiative and join the movement with ENDGAME, where transparency is a revolutionary force shaping a brighter, healthier future for all.”

This article was originally featured on Retailbriefafrica.co.za.

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