By Augusta Uchediunor and Vivian Ihechu
The development of human health is majorly dependent on nutrition.
Good nutrition, alongside other healthy lifestyle habits, supports average growth, development, and ageing.
It helps people maintain healthy body weight, boosts the immune system, makes pregnancies safer, increases mental alertness, and lowers the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases.
For over 62 years, Nestlé has been part of the daily nutrition of millions of households in Nigeria, with focus on improving the nutritional value of their products.
This is by consistently using its research and development capabilities to unlock the power of food to enhance the wellbeing of individuals and families.
Recently, in Nigeria, it introduced the latest addition to its nutrition portfolio, NIDO Milk & Soya Instant Powder Mix.
This innovative product combines the double goodness of milk and soya, fortified with iron to provide consumers with an affordable, delicious and nutritious creamy milk and plant-based complement for beverages and cereals.
Fortification, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), is the practice of deliberately increasing the content of one or more micronutrients, vitamins and minerals, in a food or condiment to improve the nutritional quality of the food supply and provide a public health benefit with minimal risk to health.
The Nigeria food fortification programme aims at achieving public health goals – tackling “hidden hunger” or micronutrient deficiencies – which cause 10 per cent of global diseases, inhibit human development and perpetuate poverty and deprivation.
The Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) says preventable deficiencies of critical vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, D, iron, iodine, folic acid and zinc contribute globally to up to three million child deaths annually.
Micronutrient malnutrition has far-reaching effects on individuals and impedes the economic development of nations, hence Food Fortification becomes one of the most cost effective interventions for tackling micronutrient deficiencies globally.
The World Bank has calculated the return on investment in nutrition interventions as Twenty Five Naira to every Naira (N25:N1) with food fortification being one of the most cost effective interventions for tackling micronutrient deficiencies globally.
This is imperatives as it is estimated that nearly 25 million Nigerians are at risk of facing hunger between June and August 2023 if urgent action is not taken.
This is according to the October 2022 Cadre Harmonisé, a Government led and UN-supported food and nutrition analysis carried out twice a year.
And, this is a projected increase from the estimated 17 million people currently at risk of food insecurity, with factors including continued conflict, climate change, inflation and rising food prices as key drivers of this alarming trend.
In addition, the National Emergency Management Agency, says widespread flooding in the 2022 rainy season damaged more than 676,000 hectares of farmlands, which diminished harvests and increased the risk of food insecurity for families across the country.
The food security and nutrition situation across Nigeria is deeply concerning noted Mr Matthias Schmale, the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, UNICEF
Hence the United Nations urges the Government of Nigeria, the donor community, and public and private stakeholders to urgently commit resources and implement mitigation measures to save lives and prevent a potentially catastrophic food security and nutrition situation.
According to Ifeanyi Orabuche, the Category & Marketing Manager, Dairy, Nestlé Nigeria, NIDO Milk & Soya is Nestlé’s first affordable fortified dairy and plant blend in the Nigerian market.
This unique blend of filled milk and soya is a source of Iron and has other essential nutrients including Protein, Calcium, Vitamin C, and dietary fiber which supports digestion.
“NIDO Milk & Soya joins our portfolio of fortified products to help address the high rate of micronutrient deficiency, especially of Iron in the country.”
According to the Journal of Public Health in Africa, the prevalence of anemia among school age children in Nigeria is 71 per cent and among women, 47.3 per cent.
NIDO Milk & Soya Instant Powder Mix was developed by local experts in Nestlé’s R&D Center in Abidjan and is produced locally in Nigeria using 100 per cent locally sourced soya beans.
It is a result of Nestlé’s progress in product innovation and renovation to meet the growing consumer demand for affordable nutrition options that also create societal value.
“At Nestlé, our decisions are guided by our purpose of unlocking the power of food to enhance quality of life for everyone today and for future generations.
“With this new product, we are helping to sustain a steady source of revenue to improve the livelihoods of the local farmers who supply the soya beans used in the production of NIDO Milk & Soya.
“This launch is part of Nestlé Nigeria’s ongoing commitment to offering affordable, wholesome and nutritious options for consumers across the country.
“This is while providing long term benefits that are good for individuals and families, good for communities and good for the planet,” says Victoria Uwadoka, the Corporate Communications, Public Affairs and Sustainability lead at Nestlé Nigeria.
Laurent Alsteens, Global Category Head for Early Childhood Nutrition at Nestlé, said: “We continue to expand our offerings with nutritious, tasty products that complement the everyday diet of children and their families.
“Through combining the goodness of dairy and plant ingredients, we can deliver a new flavour experience with nutritional benefits.”
The introduction of NIDO Milk & Soya is yet one work by Nestlé, guided by a desire to contribute to nutritious and sustainable diets, to help protect, renew and restore natural resources, while helping strengthen communities and to operate responsibly.
It is about Creating Shared Value (CSV), which is at the heart of Nestlé’s purpose- to unlock the power of food to enhance quality of life for everyone, today and for generations to come. (NAN) www.nannews.ng
Edited by Vivian Ihechu