Address under-nutrition through micronutrient fortification
We’re fortifying our foods and beverages to help children and families around the world get the micronutrients they need.
Why it matters
About a third of the world’s population suffers from deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals (Global Nutrition Report), leading to impaired growth, physical and intellectual development and compromised immunity. Such impacts will cost society an estimated USD 2.1 trillion (CHF 2.12 trillion) every year by 2025 (ATNF (pdf, 6Mb)). In response, we fortify popular foods and beverages with micronutrients that are unavailable or deficient in local diets, focusing on children and families in developing and high-priority countries.
By fortifying popular foods and beverages with micronutrients that are unavailable or deficient in local diets, we can reach millions of children and families. At the moment, we’re focusing on those in developing and high-priority countries.
What we are doing
We’re on track to meet our 2020 micronutrient fortification objectives.
Reach millions of children and families with fortified foods and beverages.
Our result: 106 million children and families reached with fortified foods and beverages.
Initiate or support collective action to reduce micronutrient deficiencies in 10 countries.
Our result: In 2018, we participated in 10 initiatives, both global and local in nature, to reduce micronutrient deficiencies.
Continue to develop the supply chain for biofortified crops and expand our fortified portfolio.
Our result: We are prepared to buy at least 1000 tonnes of biofortified maize from Nigeria a year, and are always seeking new collaborations to build the supply chain.
Making fortified foods and beverages accessible
We delivered 184.7 billion servings of fortified foods and beverages incorporating at least one of the Big 4 micronutrients (iron, iodine, vitamin A and zinc) in 64 countries with higher vulnerability to micronutrient malnutrition in 2018. Of our popularly positioned products for lower-income consumers, 83.9% were also fortified with at least one of the Big 4 (as defined by the WHO).
As a result of our global efforts, we ranked second out of the 18 largest food and beverage manufacturing companies assessed by the 2018 Access to Nutrition Index™ (ATNI) in the category of Addressing Undernutrition.
The ‘Big 4’ micronutrients
- Iron: for preventing anemia, and maintaining cognitive and physical development
- Iodine: for strong bones, brain development and thyroid hormones for a healthy metabolism
- Vitamin A: for good eye health, growth and development, and a strong immune system
- Zinc: for growth and development, and a strong immune system
Exploring the role of biofortified crops
In an effort to overcome the barriers to using nutrient-rich crops in Nigeria, in March 2018 we participated in a workshop hosted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Abuja on the development of biofortified maize. The session brought together key players in the value chain: agricultural researchers, seed producers, farm suppliers, farmer co-operatives, millers, food and beverage manufacturers and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).
As a result of this workshop, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is supporting additional efforts to increase the amounts of biofortified maize being grown in the country. This will be made available for direct consumption as well as for manufacturing.
We are prepared to buy at least 1000 tonnes of biofortified maize from Nigeria a year, and are always seeking new collaborations to build the supply chain. We could buy more, but the amounts available in the market were still insufficient in 2018. Furthermore, contamination issues (mycotoxins) forced us to reject important quantities of the grains that were submitted to our factories. For these reasons, we could not use more than about one half of the intended amounts.
Supporting Egypt’s battle against anemia
Egypt has the world’s second-highest prevalence of iron deficiency anemia (IDA) and that rate is only increasing. This impacts millions of families and costs the country billions of dollars every year.
That’s why Nestlé is contributing to the Egyptian government’s Vision 2030, which includes a focus on better health and nutrition. Working with mothers-to-be and new mothers with children up to age three, we’re aiming to halve IDA levels by 2030.
We’re joined on this project by government, academia and private, public and NGO partners, and we aim to reach 10 million mothers over the next five years through a multichannel campaign. As well as media outreach, the program will include a clinical study, a training toolkit for health specialists, advocacy with leading health bodies to support policy development and an on-pack ‘stamp’ to promote iron-fortified products.
In India, we fortified our much-loved Maggi Masala noodles with iron
We’re committed to making our foods and beverages healthier without compromising on taste, and that means addressing the key nutritional health challenges in the different countries we operate in. As part of Maggi’s Simply Good campaign in India, we fortified our popular Masala noodles with iron.
In India, iron deficiency is widespread. As many as 53% of females and 22.7% of males between 15 and 45 years old across urban and rural areas suffer from it. To help tackle this problem, we’re looking at ways to fortify our most popular products with iron and help bring those numbers down.
Masala noodles are some of our biggest sellers, with 2 billion portions consumed annually, or about 5.5 million a day. By fortifying these noodles with 15% of the recommended daily allowance of iron, we take a step toward addressing iron deficiency in the country.
We’re helping Sri Lanka become an ‘iron-clad nation’
In Sri Lanka, IDA is a widespread issue affecting children and adults alike. To combat the problem, the country’s health ministry has asked us to support their anemia reduction efforts.
We created a country-wide campaign to raise awareness about iron called ‘Toward an iron-clad nation’, which aimed to educate people about everyday foods that are rich in iron, foods that help the body absorb iron and products that are fortified with iron.
We used every channel we could, including TV, radio, digital media and our product packs to share information about iron. We also opened a 24/7 dedicated hotline and a Facebook chatbot to answer questions about iron and set up ‘Nutri-Corners’ in towns and villages across the country, where medical experts provided free nutritional counseling and iron tests to over 30 000 people.
Over the last few years, we have also been fortifying some of our most popular products with iron, including our Milo powder, Nespray Everyday, Nespray 1+, Nangrow, Lactogrow, Ceregrow and Maggi Rasa Musu.