Micronutrients are essential for health and wellbeing and are commonly used to refer to vitamins and minerals. Unlike macronutrients (which include carbohydrates, protein and fat), micronutrients are only needed in small quantities to ensure optimal health. Examples of micronutrients are Iron, Zinc, Vitamin A, Vitamin D and Iodine. A deficiency in these nutrients may result in serious health problems.
Micronutrients are essential for optimal growth and development. Despite their vital role, over one-third of the world’s population, mainly in developing countries, suffers from micronutrient deficiencies.
In South Africa, the prevalence of Vitamin A and Iron deficiencies are still seen in all socio-economic groups across board. This is the result of both poor energy intake (as in the case with lower income groups) as well poor nutrient intake (which usually occurs in the mid to upper income levels). In cases where people do take in enough energy for the day, their diet may be lacking in key nutrients such as Iron and Vitamin A because of the type of food that are eaten.
Nestlé is committed to helping reduce micronutrient deficiencies on a global scale. In South Africa, we are able to assist in helping to alleviate micronutrient deficiencies through the fortification of some of our products. Working with local governments and health authorities to identify widespread nutritional ‘gaps’ in diets, we focus on the fortification of popular foods such as MAGGI 2-Minute Noodles, MILO and CHEERIOS cereals and our NESPRAY and NIDO 3+ powdered milks to help prevent micronutrient deficiencies.
Worldwide, Nestlé provided 53 billion servings of Iron, 102 billion servings of Iodine, 35 billion servings of Vitamin A and 14 billion servings of Zinc in 2011.