What is RUTF like? Does it taste good?

RUTF is just like a creamy peanut butter – with about the same consistency and perhaps a little sweeter and creamier. It’s quite tasty, and kids seem to really like it.

What is RUTF made of?

RUTF is made of peanuts, sugar, oil, milk powder, vitamins and minerals.

How is RUTF packaged?

RUTF comes packaged in one-serving pouches. It’s shelf stable, doesn’t require any water or cooking and can be eaten straight from the packet.

Is RUTF spread on bread?

No, children being treated with RUTF don’t eat anything else during the treatment period. RUTF is their exclusive source of nutrition. As a result, it’s important that the RUTF packets are used only for the child being treated, and we work hard to educate the child’s family members about that.

How long does a severely malnourished child have to be treated using RUTF?

The average treatment time for a child with severe acute malnutrition is 6-8 weeks of RUTF. The child will use several packets a day depending on their age and size.

How much does RUTF cost?

A standard 6-week treatment costs on average about $55.

Why is there sugar in RUTF?

One of the symptoms of SAM is lethargy and sugar provides quick energy that allows the child to
continue to eat and digest the RUTF.

Why peanuts?

Peanuts are full of protein, nutrients and healthy unsaturated fatty acids. In addition, they are a part of the natural diet in the countries where we work and are easily sourced from local peanut farmers.

What about peanut allergies?

According to Andre Briend, a pediatric nutritionist with the World Health Organization, “Food allergy seems far less common in poor countries than in rich countries … This well-known observation has been explained by different factors, but apparently, crowding and repeated exposure to infections seem to play a role.” He goes on to say that, “after several years of using this product and feeding several hundreds of thousands of severely malnourished patients with it, I never heard of a place where it was a real issue.”

Why Zambia?

The need is high in Zambia. Despite strong economic growth and political stability, Zambia has one of the highest rates of SAM mortality in the world, with over 43,000 children projected to die preventable deaths each year because they are not receiving RUTF. It is estimated that less than 10% are currently receiving treatment.

Despite these challenges, Zambia is the ideal location for a RUTF factory. There are readily available raw materials, political stability and a favorable business climate. Zambia is also strategically positioned as a “land-linked” nation bordering eight other countries, many of which are in great need of RUTF as well. The ECF Executive Team conducted an in-country feasibility study on October 2013 and was met with great support for the concept from the Zambian government and a number of NGOs such as Catholic Relief Services, FHI360, Care International and other local groups.

What is your relationship with Project Peanut Butter?

Every Child Fed and Project Peanut Butter are collaborating on child malnutrition in Zambia. Building on a three-year relationship working in Sierra Leone and Somalia, ECF and PPB are establishing local production and distribution of life-saving RUTF. Project Peanut Butter brings the full extent of its technical, operational and clinical expertise to bear on all phases of the project, while Every Child Fed oversees the project in a leadership and implementation role.