Written by world renowned economists, this paper highlights the cost efficiency of select nutrition interventions and ranks fortification among the top three international development priorities globally. Interventions are grouped into three broad categories: highly cost-interventions which involve or are similar to primary health interventions; cost-effective interventions which largely involve behavior change; and cost-effective but more costly interventions which transfer food and or income to beneficiaries.
Overall, micronutrient interventions are highly cost effective. Historically, the big three micronutrients that global attention has been focused on are: Iodine, Vitamin A, Iron. Findings show that fortification has a lower unit cost than supplementation.
Fortification of complementary foods is an alternative and the development of home fortification (Sprinkles) has worked well. The study provides a break-down of cost per person, per year for salt, iron, and folate fortification, as well as for home fortification. Salt iodization has a benefit:cost Ratio of 30:1.