Useful products embedded in a desired vehicle

Pregnant women in East Africa commonly eat special clay , “Odowa” , in what is thought to be both a cultural practice and a craving driven by increased nutritional demands in pregnancy. When examined, samples of the clay were found to be contaminated by eggs of worms and infectious bacteria. We also hypothesized that, based on where they were sourced, there was the possibility of heavy metal contamination. The women reported that they loved the clay for their properties- crunchy, earthy smell, and taste. None reported that they took it for nutritional needs. After iterative brainstorming, prototyping and user feedback, a product was developed that had the same physical properties that the women loved plus the added benefit of containing vitamin and iron supplements that are required in pregnancy. The product was made using starch as a base and modified using safe additives to create the required taste, smell and texture; various amounts of iron and multivitamins were added as per WHO requirements.

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