For fortified foods to reach the consumers most in need, the market must shift from a “push” to a “pull” industry, top experts at the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, Iodine Global Network, Tata Chemicals Ltd. and others told Devex on the sidelines of the GAIN #FutureFortified Summit in Arusha, Tanzania.
“It all has to be driven in the end by the consumer, so that what we have is aspirational products, products that are affordable and are doing the right job,” said Wokko B.J. Wientjes, vice president of sustainability and public-private partnerships at Royal DSM.
The call from private sector stakeholders in particular focused on the consumer, as well as making fortified foods indispensable through increased awareness and promotion.
“The most important thing for the time being is to do a lot of social mobilization to create the demand ... and get people to understand why you have to fortify food, and then continue with the effort we’re doing currently,” Joyceline Kaganda, head nutritionist at the Tanzania Food and Nutrition Center.
Advocacy and research experts, on the other hand, pointed to the problem of duplicating efforts in implementation as a key barrier to maximizing the benefits of fortification.
"There’s a tremendous amount of overlap and opportunity for synergy between what’s going on with wheat flour, maize flour, rice fortification and of course salt iodization … and our ability to leverage the complementarities between those has not been fully realized," said Jonathan Gorstein, Executive Director of the Iodine Global Network.
In order to create programs at the national level which are sustainable, cost-effective and efficient, Gorstein added, what has so far been a range of fortification efforts must unite and coordinate to make the most of fortification’s potential.Future Fortified is a special online series exploring the impact and importance of food fortification to meet global development objectives. Join Devex — and its partner GAIN — in the conversation using #FutureFortified.