Our commitment: Address undernutrition through micronutrient fortification
An estimated 2 billion people – over 30% of the world’s population – suffer from deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals, especially the ‘Big 4’: iron, iodine, vitamin A and zinc. Micronutrient deficiencies disproportionately affect infants, young children and women, preventing them from achieving their full potential in life. The consequences of this can be devastating, leading to mental impairment, poor health, low productivity and, in severe cases, death. Even mild to moderate deficiencies can affect a person’s well-being and development.
Ideally, these nutrients should come from a balanced, varied diet but this is not always possible, particularly in developing countries. We have a responsibility, as well as an opportunity, to improve the nutrition status of people at risk by adding relevant micronutrients to foods and beverages consumed regularly by vulnerable populations.
Biofortification can also make crops more nutritious by selecting and breeding plant varieties that are naturally rich in micronutrients. It can contribute to the nutrient density of diets that are based mostly on staple foods and for those people who may not have access to fortified processed foods.
Our objective in 2016
By 2016: Reach 200 billion micronutrient-fortified servings of foods and beverages annually worldwide, helping to address global micronutrient deficiencies with a special focus on children and women of childbearing age.
Our progress to date
Total number of micronutrient-fortified servings of foods and beverages worldwide (billion)
We continue to enhance the micronutrient profile of our foods and beverages, and adapt their level of fortification to address the nutritional status and deficiencies prevalent in specific markets. For example, the global popularity and market reach of our Maggi product range give us a solid platform for helping address micronutrient deficiencies at scale. Almost 103 billion individual servings of Nestlé soups, condiments, seasonings and noodles were fortified in 2016, of which 59 billion were fortified with iron.
We also fortify cereals and milk to provide additional nourishment for vulnerable groups, such as school-age children and expectant mothers. Overall, 83.5% of affordable Popularly Positioned Products (PPPs) for lower-income consumers were fortified with at least one of the ‘Big 4’.
Working with agricultural research institutes and the HarvestPlus programme, we are also seeking to develop and establish supply chains for biofortified crops. In Nigeria, we are blending pro‑vitamin A biofortified maize with normal maize, and reserved more than 1000 tonnes of grain in 2016 for use in our branded cereal porridge.
Our R&D Centre in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, is also exploring opportunities in biofortified cassava, wheat, rice and maize with partners in Madagascar, Turkey, Brazil and India.
Our objectives towards 2020
By 2020: Reach millions of children and families with fortified foods and beverages.
By 2020: Initiate collective actions to reduce micronutrient deficiencies in 10 countries.
By 2020: Continue to develop the supply chain for biofortified crops and expand our fortified portfolio.