Optimizing Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods for Protein Quality, Cost, and Acceptability

Food Nutr Bull. 2016 Mar:37 Suppl 1:S37-46. doi: 10.1177/0379572116629257. Epub 2016 Feb 10.


This article describes current research on the development of alternative ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTFs) in the treatment of severe acute malnutrition. An innovative and versatile linear programming tool has been developed to facilitate the creation of therapeutic formulas that are determined acceptable on multiple levels: costs, ingredient acceptability, availability and stability, nutrient requirements, and personal preferences. The formulas are analyzed for ease of production by Washington University team members and for organoleptic properties acceptability to target populations. In the future, RUTF products that are cost-effective, acceptable, sustainable, and widely available will become a reality.

Keywords: dairy ingredients; formula optimization; linear programming; ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTFs).

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Dairy Products
  • Dietary Proteins*
  • Food
  • Food, Formulated* / economics
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Malnutrition / diet therapy*
  • Nutrition Therapy*
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Nutritive Value*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Programming, Linear


  • Dietary Proteins