Healthier Diets for All With Industrial Fortification & Biofortification

By:
GAIN teams of - Nutrition Connect, SUN Business Network, Large Scale Food Fortification, Nutrient Enriched Crops
Date:
2024
Resource type:
Initiatives

Unlocking Heathier Diets for All 

Defeating Hidden Hunger

An estimated 2 billion people globally are affected by micronutrient deficiencies, with a third of all people, at the risk of at least one micronutrient deficiency. These are deficiencies of vitamins like Vitamin A, essential for vision and good immune systems, or minerals like Iodine, that protect against irreversible brain damage. Our diets are not diverse enough and some vitamins and minerals are only found in low concentrations or in some, less available foods. Food-based approaches to tackling micronutrient deficiencies include improving the nutrient content of commonly consumed foods.

By 2050, we will reach 9 billion people on this planet, creating a pressing need for Africa to increase agricultural productivity to meet rising demands for food. Large-scale food fortification and Biofortified foods present efficacious, cost-effective, sustainable, scalable solutions to increase micronutrient intake and improve associated health and well-being outcomes. 

One of the most cost-effective global development investments, fortifying food has a favorable cost benefit ratio; roughly 1:30 for salt iodization and 1:8 for iron fortification. As part of broad national programmes to reduce chronic malnutrition, fortification can save national economies an estimated 2-3 percent of Gross Domestic Product (Source : Copenhagen Consensus). Recent estimates suggest, up to 75 additional low- or middle-income countries could benefit from new fortification programmes to improve public health.

However, data on coverage, quality, and impact of existing fortification programmes is limited. Most of this can be linked back to the lack of incentives in fortification for the private sector, innovative ways to build demand for fortified food among consumers, ineffective traceability, challenges in aggregation of biofortified crops, and lacking innovative food vehicles to scale fortification and changes in dietary intake.

 

Adequate nutrition should not be a privilege in the 21st century 

Large-scale food fortification and biofortification are not – individually or together – silver bullets for addressing micronutrient deficiencies, but they present a golden opportunity to strengthen food systems through the value chain of foods which may be staple foods, local condiments or other vehicles suitable to delivering healthier diets for all.

In this context, GAIN and partners are embarking on a journey seeking novel solutions in fortification and biofortification, from entrepreneurial leaders and organizations in East and West Africa.

An innovation challenge centered in Africa, stands to prove a powerful catalyst, driving and expediting positive change, promoting healthier diets for all, and addressing nutritional deficiencies on a global scale.

 

GAIN's Innovation Challenge 2024 : Seeking novel solutions in Fortification and Biofortification

I. Call for Applications

By way of an Innovation Challenge in 2024, GAIN will work with partners to support and scale bold, new solutions to elevate solutions to global hidden hunger in efforts to expedite progress to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) focused on ending hunger. We are looking for disruptive innovations placed at different points in the value chain that support Fortification and Biofortification, from entrepreneurs and organizations who have dared to think different and devised local solutions that apply to the African context for eliminating malnutrition.

II. Geographic focus of the Challenge:

Open to applicants from East & West Africa countries.

III. Operational Hubs for the Challenge :

GAIN offices in Tanzania and Benin serve as the hubs of the Innovation Challenge

IV. Duration : June 2024 - June 2025

VI. Categories for Competing in the Challenge :

  • Category I - Profitable & sustainable business models to fortify
  • Category II - Aggregation/Segregation conundrum in biofortification
  • Category III - Innovative vehicles for food fortification