How micronutrients are packing a punch against malnutrition
We take a look at how Royco – Knorr’s brand name in Indonesia – is transforming an everyday food into a nutritional gamechanger as part of our Future Foods commitments
Nothing is more essential to home cooking than a flavourful stock. But from today, Royco’s chicken and beef bouillon powders are bringing much more to the table than seasoning. Supercharged with iodised salt, the stock powders are now delivering a vital nutrition boost, as well as great taste, to mealtimes in Indonesia.
Iodine is essential for healthy growth and thyroid function. Deficiency in this essential mineral can lead to infant mortality and mental and physical development issues, as well as infertility, pregnancy loss and goitre (swelling of thyroid gland).
In Indonesia, more than 15.8 million children suffer from micronutrient deficiencies* due to a lack of essential minerals and vitamins such as iodine, iron, vitamin A, vitamin D and zinc in their diet. The introduction of fortified foods such as the bouillon powders can help families address this often unacknowledged issue.
“We call it Hidden Hunger because most people are not aware that there is anything wrong with what they are eating,” explains Melody Mary, Country Nutritionist for Unilever Foods Indonesia. “People feel full and so they think they are getting all the nutrition they need, but they really aren’t.”
And they are not alone. Reliance on a small number of plant and animal species is making it increasingly difficult for people to get the nutrition they need. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 2 billion people globally are affected by micronutrient deficiency, resulting in a wide range of health issues. Fortifying everyday foods with small, safe doses of essential micronutrients can help fill the nutritional gap.
Globally, Unilever already sells millions of servings of fortified foods every day, not just in bouillons and soups, but also in porridge, hot drinks and even ice creams in Turkey. The micronutrient which a product is fortified with is always tailored to meet the needs of people in that country.
In Kenya, for example, Royco bouillon powders are fortified with iron, while in Thailand Knorr Pot Porridge is iodine fortified. In all cases, the aim is to deliver at least 15% of the recommended daily dose for nutrients, providing a lifeline for people living on insufficient diets.
Now, thanks to Unilever’s Future Foods commitment to help people transition to healthier diets, our fortified foods portfolio is set to rise. As part of the Future Foods initiative, we have pledged to double the number of nutrition-positive products we produce by 2025. This will include foods fortified with micronutrients as well as products packed with impactful amounts of vegetables, fruit and protein.
Enjoyed in 379 million homes every year, Knorr is committed to using its scale and reach to support this initiative by inspiring people to make healthier, more planet-friendly food choices every day. Through products, programmes and partnerships, Knorr aims to help facilitate the transition to a more sustainable way of eating.
Royco’s iodised salt is just one of the many ways the brand is bringing this ambition to life. By offering the potential for significant health benefits without demanding any extensive shifts in eating habits or additional expense, the iodised salt bouillon powders clearly deliver a health benefit.
Although other seasoning brands in Indonesia may use iodised salts, Royco is the first to highlight their inclusion on-pack. They are also the first to actively communicate the importance of iodine for child development and growth through educational marketing campaigns.
It is an approach that Royco has been nurturing for over a year now through its NutriMenu education programme. Launched in 2019 the NutriMenu project aims to help parents create more nutritious meals for their children using ingredients that are accessible, affordable, appetising and now enriched with iodised salt.
“The main barrier to change is what people perceive to be a healthy and balanced diet,” explains Gina Iswary, Royco Brand Manager. The NutriMenu programme aims to overcome these barriers through its 21-day meal plan. Each proposed meal includes a nutritional breakdown as well as a cost – providing at-a-glance answers to many common sticking points.
“Up till now we have used the NutriMenu to inspire, inform and teach mothers,” says Gina. “Now we can add an easy to use, nutrition-positive food product to their daily meals too.”
* Riskesdas 2018; Pusdatin 2017; World Bank Data 2015.