Maria Vitória Valoto

Lactose-Free Milk for Everyone

Maria Vitória Valoto, Brazil Global finalist, 16-18

Maria (16) of Londrina, Brazil, wanted to solve a stomach-upsetting problem: around the world, most communities have a high percentage of people who don’t produce the enzyme needed to properly digest milk, and in Brazil, at least 50 million people are affected. Buying lactose-free milk and non-dairy alternatives like soy or almond milk can be extremely expensive and difficult for most people to afford regularly, and while food manufacturers can produce lactose-free products fairly easily, the final product can reduce the quality and nutrient value of the milk in production. So Maria set out to create an affordable capsule that anyone can add to milk directly to neutralize its lactose in the comfort of their own home. After multiple experiments, she produced a reusable capsule that works from fridge temperatures to up to 37 degrees Celsius, and it performs equally well in both low-fat and regular fat milk. Her capsule can be reused to effectively neutralize the lactose enzymes in milk for up to seven days, and costs just pennies. Maria is excited to make her solution for removing lactose from milk easily accessible to anyone.