Iodine Global Network (IGN)

The Unfinished Agenda for Food Fortification in Low and Middle-Income Countries: Quantifying Progress, Gaps and Potential Opportunities

Large-scale food fortification (LSFF) is a cost-effective intervention that is widely implemented, but there is scope to further increase its potential. To identify gaps and opportunities, we first accessed the Global Fortification Data Exchange (GFDx) to identify countries that could benefit from new fortification programs. Second, we aggregated Fortification Assessment Coverage Toolkit (FACT) survey data from 16 countries to ascertain LSFF coverage and gaps therein. Third, we extended our narrative review to assess current innovations. We identified 84 countries as good candidates for new LSFF programs. FACT data revealed that the potential of oil/ghee and salt fortification is not being met due mainly to low coverage of adequately fortified foods (quality). Wheat, rice and maize flour fortification have similar quality issues combined with lower coverage of the fortifiable food at population-level (<50%). A four-pronged strategy is needed to meet the unfinished agenda: first, establish new LSFF programs where warranted; second, systems innovations informed by implementation research to address coverage and quality gaps; third, advocacy to form new partnerships and resources, particularly with the private sector; and finally, exploration of new fortificants and vehicles (e.g., bouillon cubes; salt fortified with multiple nutrients) and other innovations that can address existing challenges.