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Rising to the challenge

Effectiveness is not just about delivering the lowest cost fortified foods. It’s about delivering the best overall value. And value means providing high quality, effective nutrition at an affordable price. Quality is more important than ever, especially for vulnerable groups with the highest risk of nutritional deficiencies. 
Three Indian girls sitting on a mat, eating a meal

NIP responds to the challenges of improving nutrition in three ways:

  1. We develop products for specific target groups and needs;
  2. We support staple food fortification programs;
  3. We develop new sustainable and inclusive business models and partnerships.

We develop products for specific target groups and needs

Micronutrients to improve the quality of nutrition are needed across a broad spectrum of situations, from emergency relief following natural disasters to long-term health and welfare improvement strategies such as school feeding programs. In collaboration with organizations and industry partners we support and develop sustainable solutions that meet the specific micronutrient requirements of diverse target groups, including:

  • Ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTFs) for the treatment of severe malnutrition;
  • Fortified processed foods;
  • Nutritional supplements for people living under special conditions (e.g. malaria-affected regions) or specific groups such as pregnant and breastfeeding mothers or school-age children;
  • Micronutrient powders, available as single servings for home fortification or multiple servings for use in hospitals, school feeding programs, etc.

Our products and solutions are flexible, safe and affordable and ideally suited to a wide range of applications.

We support staple food fortification programs

Staple food fortification provides important micronutrients without necessitating a change in the dietary habits of a population. A well-designed and properly managed food fortification program is one of the most cost-effective strategies available for improving public health in a sustainable way.

  • National programs for fortification of staple foods, for example wheat flour in the USA, maize flour fortification in Nigeria or rice fortification in Costa Rica, reach almost the entire population of a given region;
  • Targeted programs reach specific sections of the population who might not benefit from universal fortification: e.g. children below the age of two years might not fully benefit from universal flour fortification but benefit better from targeted fortification;
  • Mandatory programs that are legislated and monitored by governments on a national scale can be implemented with a negligible impact on the cost of the end product, but have the potential to improve the health of the entire population;
  • Voluntary programs driven by private industry and development agencies can have a major and sustainable impact if consumers are sufficiently aware of their benefits.

NIP has not only the scientific and technical know-how, but also the necessary experience of working with regulatory systems and bringing products to market to support all forms of fortification programs.

We develop new sustainable and inclusive business models

Strengthening the food supply chain is a very effective way to raise living and nutrition standards in developing countries. We work intensively with local companies and other organizations on local solutions to bring top-quality, nutritious and tasty products to market. With the support and advice of our local partners we can ensure these products are aspirational, affordable and accessible to low-income populations at the so-called Base of the Pyramid.

We intervene at three levels to achieve this:

  • We use feedback from our local partners along with our own scientific and technical know-how to develop more nutritious local products.
  • We develop business models with local organizations. In this case we make use of their network and of existing infrastructure (retailers, health care centers, etc.). Or we introduce new partners.
  • We combine our marketing and communications capabilities with the local partner’s knowledge of the market and the target groups.

We work with our expert partners who have complementary skills and expertise to create acceptance and demand by including all stakeholders in the planning and the development. Supporting local companies and organizations creates opportunities for the whole community; it can, for example, create new jobs, or offer new income opportunities for farmers, retailers and logistics enterprises.

Furthermore, additional income enables families to buy more and better food, pay school fees and get better medical care. This holistic approach makes for healthier people and reduces healthcare costs. The food value chain itself is stronger, and tuned to the needs and aspirations of low income groups.

Beyond traditional formal and informal retail, and government or agency-sponsored programs, we are keenly testing out various social business models with partners in key countries across Africa and Asia, ensuring that improving nutrition and developing further community benefits is a core focus area. Through our partnership approach we maximize learning and opportunities to establish innovative social businesses that are sustainable and holistically beneficial.