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Helen Keller International is an NGO dedicated to reducing malnutrition worldwide through the practice of fortifying staple foods and by providing communities and families with more nutritious foods to grow, thus enabling millions of people to lead healthier lives. For more information, see http://www.hki.org.

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helen keller international

Helen Keller International

Improving Nutrition Through Food Fortification

July 2010


Micronutrient Deficiencies and Food Fortification

  • The practice of fortifying staple foods, which is commonplace in industrialized countries, has not yet taken hold everywhere.
    • Micronutrient deficiencies are responsible for widespread health problems in the developing world.
    • Anemia alone is a critical health issue for some two billion people, or one third of the world’s total population.
    • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies cause premature death and disability in many parts of the world.

Helen Keller International: Food Fortification Helps Save Lives

  • HKI’s Food Fortificationprograms provide communities and families with more nutritious foods, enabling people to lead healthier lives.
    • We collaborate with partners on large-scale efforts to fortify cooking ingredients with essential vitamins and minerals.
    • We develop channels to distribute fortificants that can be used in home, such as Sprinkles and Plumpy’Nut®.
    • We promote fortified products to targeted populations through extensive social marketing campaigns.

Large-Scale Food Fortification Supplies Essential Nutrients

  • HKI collaborates with partners on large-scale efforts to fortify essential foods. Our efforts include:
    • Fortifying cooking oil with Vitamin A. This initiative aims to reach 70% of the population of West Africa, or 60 million people, by the end of 2010.
    • Fortifying wheat flour, a staple food, with folic acid and iron, which helps combat birth defects and iron deficiency.

HKI Helps Control Micronutrient Deficiencies with In-Home Solutions

  • HKI develops effective and inexpensive in-home solutions for families to fortify their own meals.
    • Sprinkles: This fortificant contains multiple micronutrients that can be added to home-cooked meals on a daily basis, effectively reducing anemia in women and children. In Indonesia, after the 2004 tsunami, HKI distributed Sprinkles to 200,000 children.
    • Iron supplementation to combat anemia: HKI provides supplements to pregnant women.
    • Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTFs), such as Plumpy’Nut®, are nutrient-rich pastes to treat severe malnutrition.

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© HKI/Carol Stein