Research & Development Lab

Dr. Schae-lee Olckers

StartWell foods have our very own R&D lab where Dr. Schae-lee Olckers leads our research and development efforts. Innovation is part of our core at the foundation and we can proudly say we are constantly innovating and improving new products to help children receive more cost-effective nutrients.

The Science We Trust

“Biochemistry is the science that explores the chemical processes within and related to living organisms.” 

– Biochemical Society

All children are living, growing organisms. A child’s foundational or formative growth occurs during the first five years (2 000 days) and then slows down towards reaching early adulthood.

“To grow, living organisms need access to growth nutrients.”

– World Health Organization (WHO)

 Bio-scientists understand poor nutrition is the driving cause of growth lapses during a child’s early growth stages. The growth lapses can start in the womb. When a small growing child is exposed to chronic malnutrition, such lapses in growth causes stunting. This is to be inappropriately short for the child’s age with many adverse cognitive, emotional, metabolic and physical effects. It is impossible to recover from stunting if living conditions remain the same.

“Every single stunting occurrence is 100% preventable.”

– World Health Organization (WHO)

We only have one chance with every child to get this right. By making sure growing children receive good quality carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and water during the first 6% of their lives, they can be set up and developed to thrive for the following 94%.

Biology Fact 1

There are seven main classes of nutrients that the body needs. These are carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals, fibre and water. Growing children must consume good quality and optimum quantity of the seven nutrients daily. Only then will they build their bodies, strengthen their immune systems and maintain healthy lives.

Biology Fact 2

When a diet consists of high-quality carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, it will also carry quality vitamins, minerals, and fibre. We cannot effectively fortify poor-quality diets with commercial vitamins and minerals.


Every society needs to make 100% sure their growing embryos, foetuses, babies, infants and small children have daily access to good quality and quantity carbohydrates, proteins, fats and water.

The Fact

Currently, South Africa misses the Zero Stunting target with a whopping 1.7m under 5-years old children whom the WHO considers stunted. These children, and society, will carry the burden of their underdeveloped cognitive, emotional and physical statuses for the rest of their ±75 years of life.

“To reduce stunting rates in RSA, we need specific focus on supplying growth nutrients during the first 2 000 days of life.”

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