235M

More people reached with fortified staples in 2019

438M

More people reached with adequately iodized salt in 2019

4.8M

Metric tonnes of food staples fortified

The Need

Micronutrient deficiencies and their consequences can have devastating health impacts.

Globally, more than two billion people, including women and children, do not get the micronutrients they need to survive and thrive. The impacts of micronutrient deficiencies are devastating for individuals, families and entire countries.

Poor diet and limited access to nutritious foods are among the key reasons why someone may lack crucial micronutrients for human development such as: iron, folic acid, vitamin A and iodine.

Food fortification has been in place in industrialized nations since the early 20th century and has helped to eliminate deficiency-related diseases in high-income countries, yet its success in low- and middle-income countries is somewhat limited. This is due to barriers such as lack of political will, which often leads to under-prioritization by governments, the food fortification industry’s lack of capacity and resources, ineffective and weak regulation and enforcement, and limited consumer understanding of the benefits of consuming fortified foods.

In countries where there is political commitment to food fortification and where legislation exists to support it, there can often be challenges with effective implementation and monitoring.

Our Solution

Food fortification is ranked one of the highest-return interventions in global development.

Food fortification is a proven, sustainable, cost-effective and high-impact solution to address micronutrient deficiencies.

Staple foods such as wheat flour, maize flour, rice, oil, pulses and salt, are consumed by most of the global population consistently throughout the year. They can be fortified with micronutrients, including iron, folic acid, vitamin A, iodine and others, without affecting taste, texture, or colour — and with a negligible cost to the consumer. This inclusive solution reaches nearly the entire population.

Mandatory fortification of staple foods with folic acid improves the folate status of women, greatly reducing the risk of giving birth to babies with neural tube defects, should they become pregnant. Given that some 40% of pregnancies globally are unintended and that most women start supplementation late, good pre-conception nutrition through fortification is crucial for both mother and baby.

Depending upon the in-country fortification standards, Nutrition International promotes fortification of staple foods and condiments, including:

  • Wheat flour, maize flour and rice with micronutrients, including iron, folic acid, zinc, vitamin B12, and others
  • Universal salt iodization and double-fortified salt with iodine and iron
  • Edible oils with vitamins A and D
  • Pulses with iron

Our Solution

We work to increase policy coherence, scale up fortification, and improve program monitoring.

Together with government, industry stakeholders and our partners, we work through mandatory fortification programs and social safety net programs to:

  • Support development and operationalization of food fortification legislation, policies, plans and standards in harmony with international guidelines
  • Facilitate the establishment and strengthening of multi-stakeholder coordination platforms for fortification and nutrition
  • Provide technical assistance to establish effective regulatory, and systematic quality assurance and quality control systems
  • Build industry readiness and capacity for food fortification by providing production and customized business advisory assistance to industry partners
  • Strengthen the capacity of regulatory agencies to monitor and enforce food fortification regulations
  • Support government efforts to promote acceptance of fortified foods among consumers
  • Support global networks and organizations to strengthen the worldwide fortification agenda