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Sir Ray Avery takes on the challenge of NZ kids nutrition


“As a teenager living on the streets of London food was always top of mind as I begged for the leftovers from the bakeries or anyone that would share.” Sir Ray Avery.

As a result of his life experiences a passion project for Sir Ray, over the last 10 years has been the development of an affordable nutritional bar that would incorporate all the ingredients for the healthy physiological and cognitive development of children.

After years of research and customer acceptance testing - the AMIGO Bar will be New Zealand’s first “five stars” rated Supplementary Food Bar formulated for Children 4 – 14 years old containing all the essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals to support healthy growth and brain development.

The AMIGO Bar, which has been designed to appeal to children’s taste buds as well as delivering balanced nutrition incorporates a major sweetening ingredient derived from sugar beet and has been scientifically proven to have probiotic activity promoting good gut bacteria and unlike sugar and corn syrup, is also “tooth friendly”.

Through the generosity of the Ted Manson Foundation Sir Ray has also put in place the AMIGO Bar School programme which will provide free samples of the AMIGO BARS together with an AMIGO BAR School pack which provides educational material to improve awareness of good nutrition choices.

Both the AMIGO Bar and the AMIGO Bar School programme will be launched at the end of June and at around a dollar, a day can contribute to creating healthy young New Zealanders.

Any ongoing profits from the sale of the AMIGO Bar, through supermarkets and other outlets will go towards making the Medicine Mondiale Foundation self sustaining – a long term goal of Sir Ray and his commitment to social entrepreneurship

No stranger to the development of new nutritional products, in his role as Technical Director of Douglas Pharmaceuticals, Sir Ray oversaw the research and development of the Karitane Infant formula which was the first infant formula supplemented with folic acid and could be dissolved in cold water.
Douglas Pharmaceutical sold the product to Nutricia and the Karicare Brand in now a market leader.

“I believe the AMIGO bar is a very practical and cost effective addition to addressing the poor nutrition evident in New Zealand schoolchildren and allowing our kids to be all that they can,” said Sir Ray.

THE CHALLENGE TO GET THE AMIGO BAR RIGHT WITH THE HELP OF THE KIDS

The New Zealand high protein and fat diets can also mean that we have obese school children who are suffering from amino acid, vitamin and mineral malnutrition.

Numerous studies in New Zealand and overseas have demonstrated a link between nutrition and learning and shown the beneficial effects of restoring nutrition to the appropriate level.

What was needed was a long shelf life “ready to eat” affordable supplementary food that made up the nutritional deficiencies evident in the diets of New Zealand School children.

This was the challenge when developing the AMIGO Bar.
One of the “hidden” problems facing many parents today is kids don’t like healthy foods and the foods they like are limited.

“We have spent a whole lot of time engaging with hundreds of schoolchildren getting their input at every stage of development of the AMIGO BARS” said Sir Ray.

They have selected the AMIGO BAR name and design and taste tested the flavours and choosing what they like.

The AMIGO BAR has been developed by children even blind testing the taste of each bar formulation.

There has been an overwhelming number of requests from schools wanting us to supply AMIGO Bars to children in need. For privacy reasons, we have not named the schools but here are some of their responses for Amigo Bars:

“…we would appreciate 50 Amigo Bars a week as we have families who struggle to feed their children every day”
“…we have a growing number of children who live in poverty and do not come to school with adequate food to sustain them through the school day.

“We would love to receive 80 Amigo Bars a week…it would be a great start for us..”

“My name is Sally and I am in charge of school lunches…We have about 20 children who come to school daily without lunch and they would benefit from Amigo Bars

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