Opportunity

Fortifying lentils with iron to prevent anaemia

Due to their specific biological needs, adolescent girls are particularly vulnerable to iron deficiency, which can have significant adverse impacts on their health and wellbeing.

Lentils, a major Canadian export and a staple food in India, Turkey, Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Algeria, are an ideal food that could be fortified with iron to prevent anaemia. However, there are no fortified lentils currently available on the market.

Our Solution

Creating evidence to introduce fortified lentils into the market

Iron

Iron

With support from Nutrition International through Nutrition Leverage and Influence for Transformation (NLIFT), the University of Saskatchewan is conducting the health benefit documentation phase of its iron-fortified lentil efficacy trial.

Advancing a fortification technology developed at the University with technical support from Nutrition International and other partners, the objective of this study is to establish evidence of the efficacy of iron-fortified lentils in improving the health and nutritional status of a sample group of adolescent girls in the Mymensingh District of rural Bangladesh.

The evidence on health benefits generated by this trial will:

  • Facilitate acceptance of the fortified lentils by the population of Bangladesh, government stakeholders, bulk institutional buyers, and lentil processors
  • Create a market for fortified lentils, expand its commercial application, and facilitate global scale-up
  • Provide another method for reducing incidences of iron-deficiency anaemia

Since Canada is the top lentil producer and exporter in the world, this investment has the potential to reach hundreds of millions of people around the world, improving their nutritional status and their overall health.

The impact

Working to improve anaemia status of adolescent girls

This partnership will increase the iron status of adolescent girls participating in the efficacy trial, and ultimately generate the evidence needed to develop a strategy for bringing fortified lentils into the market.