Nutrition and Packaging


We are Buena Salud, a group of Cal Poly and San Pablo student’s working together to develop a business in San Pablo, Tacana, Guatemala that makes, packages, and sells healthy snack foods in San Pablo and at surrounding markets. The business will be student run, employ locals, and rely mostly on local resources. Additionally, the business will not be harmful to the environment.

This web page describes our project in more detail. We hope you enjoy!

Problem Statement:
A)There is a lack of productive (i.e. income generating) activities in the community of San Pablo, Tacana, Guatemala (SP). As a result of this, young people migrate to the city to find employment.

B)There is a lack of nutritious food, nutritional knowledge, and there is poor quality or deterioration of food security in the community of SP. In order to be attractive to consumers and be sold at a market, snack foods need to be packaged and sealed.

There is not a lack of plastic. However, conventional packing technologies (i.e. plastic) have environmental and health consequences that we would like to avoid. In particular, there is a scarcity of raw materials, many of which are used in the production of packaging materials such as plastic. Also, there is a decreasing capacity for garbage disposal. The streets of Guatemala are littered with non-biodegradable trash. Lastly, there are concerns over the toxicity of many packaging materials. A lot of families in Guatemala burn their trash and it is important their trash not be toxic.

Our goals are to raise awareness and educate the community about the importance of the food they do and do not consume. In addition, we want to create a business: making, packaging, and selling healthy snacks using local resources and environmentally friendly packaging materials (We are exploring…. e.g. Cereplast and other biodegradable plastics). We also hope to seal our products using an inexpensive, environmentally benign technology. a small sustainable machine (e.g. a solar powered heat sealer).

Conclusions: We finalized our recipe for the nutrition bar and successfully made a heat sealer with the intention of using it to package the bar. However, our experiences and tests led us to the conclusion that it would be more feasible to package the bar wrapping it with Pride Green Bio-Plastic (a biodegradable, methane free, and non-toxic when incinerated material similar to saran wrap) and sealing it with a logo label.

Correspondence with San Pablo
Their needs:

  • Packaging materials (e.g. plastic)
  • Packaging equipment (e.g. shrink wrap machine)

Knowledge & know how:

  • Determining expiration date
  • Determining nutritional information
  • Recording the brand and the product legally
  • Establishing a system of production and marketing

Their Contributions:

  • Name: La Barra Chispa
  • Slogan: Cuida tu salud; con CHISPA
    • Translation: Watch your health with SPARK
  • Proposed price: 2 Quetzales/bar

Decision Matrices

Problem Statement 1: We want to create a nutritious alternative to the current snack foods in San Pablo

Protein Bar Fruit Leather Cookies Baked Chips No-Bake Granola Bar
Availability of ingredients 9 10 10 10 9
Machine resources needed 6 7 8 7 9
Cost 9 10 9 10 10
Cook time 8 3/7 9 10 5
Taste 9 9 8 8 7
Appearance 8 9 6 9 8
Nutrition 9 10 5 5 10
TOTAL: 59 58/62 55 59 58

Scale: 1 (worst) – 10 (best)
All totals out of 70

To see ingredients and recipes for the proposed nutritious snacks, click here!

Problem Statement 2: We need a way to distribute our product

Heat Sealed “Fresh Fudge Model” Saran Wrap with Sticker Shrink Wrap
Technology Required 6 10 9 5
Cost 5 10 8 6
Electricity Required 0 10 10 0
Sustainable Materials 4/9 10 6 4
Ease 8 10 9 5
Hermetically Sealed 10 0 5 10
Attractive 10 0 6 9
TOTAL: 43/48 50 53 39

Scale: 1 (worst) – 10 (best)
All totals out of 60

More information about packaging methods can be found here.

Problem Statement 3: We need a material to package our product in
Totals: Waxed Paper: 51, Flexible plastic films: 42, Bio-plastic: 43

Environmental factors of possible packaging materials:

Final Material:

Cost Effectiveness:
Quetzales to Dollars conversion rate: (Q1.0 = $0.12822 or $1.0 = Q7.79890)

San Pablo correspondance: 2 Quetzales per bar (equal to .258 USD) $60.78 for 2400 sq. ft of plastic wrap (+ $160 for shipping)

-> can wrap about two bars per sq. ft of plastic wrap -> about 5000 bars per case of plastic wrap

-> Cost is about $.04 to wrap each bar (Q0.0026 )

Cost of ingredients= $28/# of bars (45) = $0.62 per bar

Approx. $0.62 to make the bars here (but prices for ingredients are significantly higher)

In San Pablo: Q50.36/# of bars (45) = Q1.12 per bar

Q1.12 + Q0.0026 = Q1.1226

Cost to make Q0.8774 profit or 44% profit on each bar

Shipping Costs:

Natural Value Clear Plastic:

100 sq ft. roll: $2.68
2400 sq ft. case: $60.78

    • Free shipping to US on orders of $49 or more

Shipping a 20lb box from San Luis Obispo:

USPS: $160
UPS: $529
FedEx: $507

Carbon Footprint:
Our nutrition bar is:

  • Vegetarian
  • Organic
  • Local
  • Sustainably packaged

Estimate carbon footprint: 0.50 metric tons of CO2 to produce bar for a year

What We’ve Done





Nutrition Information for four sample bars from presentation #2:
Nutrition Information for final product:
Exploring Expiration:
Sample bar from lab after 1 week wrapped in saran wrap:

  • Retained: Structure, appearance, taste
  • Deteriorated: Moisture, texture

Check out our research from last quarter!

Isabelle Kraus
Emily Swift
Megan Sirna
Daniel Tennant