“Green tongue” the nutritional candy

Green tongue spiraling candies – a breakthrough in combating malnutrition ?

There are no easy answers to combating malnutrition, but the recently-developed ‘Green Tongue’ candies priced at just one Rupee (CHF 0.025) could become a sustainable solution. A marketing company for spirulina products has been created in Madurai under the name of Antenna Nutritech, a social enterprise under Section 25 of the Indian Company Act. In 2009, it sold spirulina products for 1.5 million Rupees in 2009 (CHF 38,000) and was good for another 2.1 million Rupees in 2010 (CHF 42’000).

While some of the products are designed for the up-market to buy at a good profit margin, Antenna Nutritech has also been extremely successful in the social markets. Already 60 % of turnover comes from three social products:

  • Green Tongue – the spirulina candies
  • SpiruPower – a small bottle with 60 spirulina tablets for 99 Rupees (~2 CHF)
  • SpiruPower – a flask with 180 tablets of 750 mg spirulina, especially used for HIV/AIDS-affected persons.

The company will soon break even and finance all its costs sustainably. Antenna Nutritech has made great progress with the development of the ‘One Rupee’ candy: it contains half a gram of spirulina and comes in three flavours: vanilla, mango and herbs, very appreciated by Indian children. The pricing was especially designed to reach the so-called ‘base of the pyramid’ (BOP) customers and includes a 30 paisa margin for women vendors.

The sales are closely linked to Antenna India’s micro-finance programme and there is a lot of interest among women participating in Self-Help Groups to sell it to their neighbours. Children are also buying the candies with their pocket money during school-breaks.

Cooperation has started with Child Fund India – a large child development NGO catering to over 70,000 children –and will lead to large scaling-up programmes. So far, over 1 million candies have been sold and Antenna Nutritech now faces a shortage of spirulina.