Micronutrient Cubes nutrition

Bouillon-shaped cubes that introduce micronutrients into food for children at risk of malnutrition

A third of the 2 billion people who are micronutrient deficient are children. Many have little access to diverse foods or supplements. By working through private sector supply chains, this product will expand micronutrient access to caregivers in an easy-to-use form that mimics bouillon.
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Micronutrient Cubes is at the Research stage

nutrition

Micronutrient Cubes

A third of the 2 billion people who are micronutrient deficient are children. Many have little access to diverse foods or supplements. By working through private sector supply chains, this...

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Two billion people are affected by micronutrient deficiencies worldwide, contributing to anemia, loss of eyesight, diarrhea, and disrupted or delayed mental and physical development. One third of those affected are children under the age of five. In some parts of the world, especially those impacted by conflict, it can be difficult or impossible for caregivers to find or afford micronutrient-rich foods like fruit, vegetables, fortified foods, and animal protein.

Micronutrient powder (MNP), a white, odorless, tasteless powder, is sometimes distributed freely through health centers or available through socially-marketed products like Sprinkles. These products face major challenges due to limited or irregular availability, and confusion by end users who may not be well informed about how and why to use the powder. This is particularly true in conflict-affected areas where health services are already over-burdened, and therefore cannot provide substantial preventative services or support to caregivers.

Bouillon cubes are frequently used in many parts of the world a flavoring base to most foods. Working with bouillon manufacturers, whose products are already part of people’s daily lives, this solution would introduce micronutrient cubes mimicking the shape and use of a bouillon cube. These cube-shaped micronutrient doses would be sold through the existing bouillon supply chain, branded for children 6-24 months, and designed to be added to the pot at the start of cooking a child’s porridge.

Drawing upon the creativity and resilience of last-mile vendors, introducing micronutrients through the bouillon supply chain could side-step the logistical and monetary challenges faced by humanitarian agencies and ensure better access and uptake by caregivers.

January 2019 | Second round of inputs from experts in micronutrients, food scientists, funders, bouillon manufacturers, and other food experts.

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August 2018 | Interviews with nutrition experts and food scientists, review of existing literature on micronutrient deficiencies.

August 2017 | Concept is developed

Concept is developed as part of an overarching idea-generating effort to find ways of reducing severe acute malnutrition.

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May 2017 | Ethnographic research

Ethnographic research with caregivers and health providers in Liberia, Senegal, and Tanzania as inspiration for ideas on malnutrition prevention.

Resource

We develop new solutions to better serve people suffering the effects of conflict and crisis.