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Food Aid Case Study: Edesia, Rhode Island, Malawi, Haiti, Nicaragua, France, Niger, Tanzania, and More

Edesia was the Roman goddess of food.  Today, Edesia is also the name of a small Providence, Rhode Island based "Global Nutrition Solutions" company that produces "Plumpy'nut."  The life-saving, malnutrition-fighting peanuty goo packs protein filled peanuts, fatty vegetable oils, sugar, and an alphabet's worth of vitamins into an all-in one wonder bar for, in particular, the starving children of the world's developing countries. More than a decade ago, Doctors Without Borders expressed the need for a practical nutritional food substance that didn't need refrigeration or water (which in the developing countries can be as hard to come by as food).  Perhaps now with some embellishments grown over time, the story goes that a Frenchman who was enjoying nutella in the 1990's had a epiphany while eating breakfast, and hence came up with the good-tasting and life-giving nutrition bar. 

While Anderson Cooper's clip makes concrete the vital humanitarian aspect of the "Plumpy'nut" issue, there is also the economic side of the issue to explore.  As we read Chapter 7 (monopolies, patents, competition, market structures, positive and negative externalities, market failures, anti-trust laws, and government regulation) and remember Chapter 6 (market equilibrium, price controls, ceilings, floors, and subsidies), a case study of "Plympy'nut," provides not only real life illustrations of economic theory in the works, but also challenges everyone to re-evaluate or re-affirm market baises.

You can visit Edesia: Global Nutrion Solution's website here.
Read "The Plumpy Crusader" article from Newsweek.
Read "The Peanut Solution" article from The New York Times Magazine.
And, check out Rhode Island's local press, by reading "RI Company Produces Supplement" article from The Providence Journal.