Derek Newberry

Rising Ventures: Cuadritos Fights Hunger With Business

cuadritosIt is tragic that in a country where 17,000 tons of food are thrown away every day, 10% of the population is malnourished. That is what struck Hector Gonzales, anyway, when he decided this issue was far too important for a business such as his to ignore. It is upon this foundation of principled action that he resolved to develop a for-profit model to tackle hunger with the food products being thrown away daily in Mexico.

Hector used his background in chemical engineering to find ways to reprocess the massive amounts of whey, soy, and vegetables discarded by major corporations such as Danone to create edible high protein cookies, soups and other products. I know the idea of drinking a smoothie made from expired yogurt may seem a bit odd, but one of our researchers who visited the plant gave the various snacks high marks on taste. Hector and his team have used their talents to not only make these foods safe and delicious, but also high in nutrients, with especially strong concentrations of protein that tend to be expensive for low-income consumers.

These foods are made into packages intended to feed one family for a week and sold for $3.20 each. This is a BOP solution at its purest- affordable, quality nutrition for low-income consumers at enough of a profit to make the whole endeavor sustainable. The simplicity of this system may make it seem so ideal as to be unrealistic, but it is real enough for the 93,000 people these Cuadritos products feed every day.