Cooking for a cause

TV show brings Peruvian chefs and families together to fight malnutrition

160 chefs, dozens of ordinary families, one of the world’s richest culinary heritages, a popular host and a multi-media format covering television, radio, the web and social media: these are the ingredients of Cocina con Causa, the TV show that seeks to promote healthy eating habits in Peru.

Now in its second season, the show will explore creative recipes that leverage the wealth of ingredients offered by Peru’s climatic and ecological diversity as well as its vast gastronomic tradition — all of this for a cause: addressing the multiple nutritional challenges the country is still facing.

While Peru succeeded in halving chronic malnutrition among children to the current 13.1 percent in ten years, the same cannot be said for anemia which — at 43 percent nationwide and with a peaks of 76 percent in the mountainous department of Puno in the Andes — remains a serious concern. Remote rural areas in the Sierra and Amazon regions lag behind in the fight against malnutrition, showing stunting rates as high as 33 percent. At the same time, changing eating and living patterns are at the roots of increasing levels of overweight and obesity.

Born out of the collaboration between the World Food Programme (WFP), ministries, private sector partners and Peru’s state television, the first series of Cocina con Causa — which saw young chef visit communities across the country — was very popular with viewers. A survey highlighted the transformative potential of this initiative: half of those who had watched the show reported wanting to change their eating habits as a result, and feeling able to identify the foods that can help fight anemia.

“With the new Cocina con Causa, we will make creative nutritional solutions available to people 24 hours a day,” says Carmen Burbano de Lara, Director of WFP Peru, explaining that, for wider reach, contents will also be available on the radio, internet and social media.

“We believe that if we all sit together at the table we can better tackle food and nutrition challenges and reach our goal of eradicating anemia,” she added, highlighting the value of the partnership between WFP, talented and committed young chefs, the government, the media and others.

Hosted by Peruvian actress and TV presenter Norma Martínez, Cocina con Causa will air Monday to Friday at 10:30 a.m. on TV Perú for a total of 160 episodes, starting on 11 June.

World Food Programme Insight

Insight by The World Food Programme

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