Harriet Lowalem participated to the LovePulses Showcase competition and arrived second in the international virtual competition. Her innovation will be presented at IFT in Chicago, one of the biggest food exposition events in the world! She developed with her team the “Bean- Amaranth energy bar”, a healthy option for snack lovers. The product is made of basic commodities such as beans, amaranth, honey and sugar. In an interview, she tells us more about her innovation and her enthusiasm in taking part in the International Year of Pulses through this competition.

Who worked with you on this innovation?

This product was a result of brainstorming sessions from a team of nutritionists and food scientists. It was a collaborative effort of members from National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) and Makerere University (Cathy Ndagire - Nutritionist, Hedwig Natabirwa - food scientist and Christine Karungi - food scientist).

Why did you decide to participate to the competition?

The team decided to participate in the #LovePulses showcase because they felt that they could contribute to the creation of new innovations using pulses that were nutritious. This drive was centered towards using locally available commodities that are often not considered possible snack ingredients. In addition we looked at creating a product that could meet the nutrition challenges in our country since Uganda has been reported to have a stunting prevalence of 33% in the recent Demographic and Health survey.

Could you present us your innovation?

The product is the Bean Amaranth Energy bar and it consists of precooked beans, popped amaranth, honey and sugar. This product is nutritional beneficial because it is very rich in protein and micronutrients. The product is socially acceptable because local commodities are used and it is sustainable because it has a very short cooking time. It is a convenient snack that doesn’t require any further processing.

What is unique about your product? What would you like your product to become?

This product is nutritionally rich with no added artificial sweeteners. It is purely natural.  We would like our product to become a leading snack choice in Uganda.

What does the International Year of Pulses represent for you?

The International Year of Pulses gives us an opportunity of creating awareness of the importance of pulses both commercially and nutritionally for all population groups. It also helps us draw attention to a crop that we have taken for granted yet it could be critical in enhancing wellbeing of our communities.

What would you like to see accomplished this year?

We would like to carry out a market survey for our product to establish uptake and consumer preference. In addition we would like to develop more product variants of the energy bar to target a larger market.