The stakes of food fortification

Nutritional deficiencies can gravely impact one’s life, especially for mothers-to-be and young children. Food fortification is one of the tools that can be used to curb those effects.

What is food fortification?

Food fortification refers to the act of adding vitamins or minerals to a food during processing to increase its nutritional value and has proven safe and effective in reducing the impact of nutritional deficiencies. Often led by governments, this practice is very current in high-income countries but there can be more space in LMICs (low or mid-income countries).

Fortification has been used by different governments across the world and various health organizations as a way to curb the global impact of nutritional deficiencies. Most often, food manufacturers have to follow strict regulations around how and why they add nutrients to food.

Most common nutritional deficiencies and their impact

According to the WHO, the most common nutritional deficiencies in the world are iron, vitamin A, and iodine and are particularly prevalent in children and pregnant women.

At its mildest, an iron deficiency can manifest as anemia, fatigue, or chills. Left untreated, it can lead to increased mortality.

Vitamin A deficiencies can lead to vision loss, skin issues, infertility, delayed growth and development in children, and inflated risks of respiratory tract infections.

Iodine is essential to the good functioning of the thyroid. Deficiencies can lead to complications in pregnancies, including miscarriages and stillbirths. In adults, it can cause goiter.

Food fortification has been instrumental in reducing the impact of malnutrition worldwide and has helped reduce the occurrence of such deficiencies.

The importance of bioavailability

Food products can lose nutrients during processing, packaging, and treatment (such as pasteurization).

For example, freshly pressed orange juice is often boasted as containing more nutrients than store-bought orange juice. Consumers unfortunately don’t all have the time and resources to press their orange juice every morning and may prefer a store-bought juice. Store-bought orange juice often goes through pasteurization and can lose some of its highly coveted vitamins. To wage the gap in nutrition between those products, juice manufacturers may opt for fortification to restore a closer to nature amount of nutrients in their ready-made orange juice.

As with any other nutrient, food fortification poses the question of bioavailability. In some cases, processing food products may make it harder for the body to absorb the added nutrients, in other cases, it may be more highly bioavailable. While some variations in absorption may depend on the product’s nature, choosing the right delivery system for a food product can also help nutritional availability.

Lycored’s fortification solutions

At Lycored, we know that a product is not worth anything if it doesn’t bring your consumers the wellness and results they expect.

Our experts work hard to deliver products in a wide range of delivery systems to suit the application that will suit your product best, which includes food fortifications. Our health products are microencapsulated to meet high standards of stability and bioavailability. They can be used in tandem with our nature-based colors, taste, and texture enhancers to provide your product with just the right look, taste, and mouthfeel to keep your consumers coming back.

Find out more about our health products here, or reach out today. Our team is always happy to help you figure out what product might be the best to reach your goal.