What is home fortification?
Home fortification consists of adding specialized, nutrient-filled products such as multiple micronutrient powders (MNP) or food-based complementary food supplements (CFS) such as small-quantity lipid-based nutrient supplements (SQ-LNS) and full-fat soy flour (and soy protein isolate) with a vitamin-mineral mix to locally available foods prepared at home or other settings such as daycare centers or schools
When is home fortification used?
Home fortification is used in situations where diets do not provide enough essential nutrients. While not limited to children 6-24 months of age, home fortification has a special role to play in infant and young child feeding (IYCF). Because unfortified cereal-based complementary foods generally do not supply enough essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and/or other nutrients critical for optimal growth and development, home fortification products can supplement the complementary food and fill nutrient gaps, especially when access to sufficient nutrient-dense foods is limited.
Who is home fortification targeted towards?
The home fortification approach provides the flexibility to target specific ingredients and products to the needs of certain population groups, such as young children aged 6-23 or 6-59 months, school age children or pregnant or lactating women, who are at particular risk for inadequate nutrient intake. Specifically due to the relatively high nutrient needs to support the physical and cognitive development of the developing child, home fortification is an important intervention supported by WHO (https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789241549943), UNICEF (https://www.unicefusa.org/stories/improve-kids-nutrition-little-sprinkle-goes-long-way), The 1,000 Days Partnership (http://www.thousanddays.org) and Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement (http://scalingupnutrition.org).
Are there any foods that conflict with home fortification products?
In the context of complementary feeding, home fortification does not require any change in how the usual soft, or semi-solid age-appropriate complementary foods are prepared. Adding a sachet of powdered or lipid-based nutrients to the locally prepared complementary food once per day can be an easy solution.
Do home fortification products conflict with breastfeeding practices?
Home fortification, if used correctly, does not conflict with breastfeeding or with a timely transition from exclusive breastfeeding to introduction of complementary foods at six months of age as recommended by the WHO. Moreover, the introduction of home fortification products to caregivers of infants and young children can be a great opportunity to reinforce messages on timely introduction of complementary food and continued breastfeeding to two years of age and beyond.
Home fortification products come in measured doses that are safe to consume and easy to store and use. Please see our FAQ page for more information on safety of SQ-LNS and MNP products.
Distribution of home-fortification products can be achieved by various means including delivery through government-led systems such as the health, education and or social protection systems, free of cost to the end-user, or through market-based systems.
Products used in home fortification have been demonstrated to have a significant health impact. Evidence for micronutrient powders (MNPs) for the prevention and control of iron-deficiency anemia, is supported by several systematic reviews, WHO Guidelines, and HF-TAG programmatic guidance and technical briefs. Research on small–quantity LNS (≤120 kcal/d, ≤20 g/d) in older infants and young children demonstrates benefits related to linear growth (height), prevention of wasting, child development, micronutrient deficiencies and mortality. Please see our Resource Library page for further information and evidence.