Nutrition Is the Big Winner at Nigeria’s Micronutrient Fortification Index Awards
The ceremony highlighted the continued commitment of Nigeria’s leading food brands to combating malnutrition
Lagos, March 28, 2023 – On Tuesday, leaders from the private sector, government, and civil society gathered for the Micronutrient Fortification Index (MFI) Awards, hosted by international nonprofit TechnoServe in partnership with the Aliko Dangote Foundation and Lagos Business School, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The awards, held during the opening ceremony of Nigeria AgroFood 2023 by FairTrade, saw Flour Mills of Nigeria brand Golden Penny Classic Flour take home the top prize, and nine additional brands were also recognized.
The Micronutrient Fortification Index was launched in 2021 to help Nigerian consumers make informed decisions about their food purchases and incentivize food companies to comply with national food-fortification standards. The voluntary, locally-led, and industry-owned initiative uses product-quality testing, self assessment, and the evaluation of an expert panel to measure the commitment of brands to food fortification.
This year, the MFI Awards took on added significance amid continued inflation and other impacts of COVID-19, climate change, and the conflict in Ukraine that threaten food security and nutrition. Food fortification is considered one of the most cost-effective ways of combating malnutrition and ensuring that economically vulnerable communities can access the vitamins and minerals they need.
The 2023 MFI ranking included the participation of 31 brands–more than double the original number of participants–drawn from the edible oil, wheat flour, and sugar sectors. Joining Golden Penny Classic Flour among the top five performers were Golden Penny Prime Flour, also of Flour Mills of Nigeria; Power Oil of Raffles Oil LFTZ Enterprises, a subsidiary of Dufil Foods; and Devon King’s Oil and Mamador Oil of PZ Wilmar. Golden Oil Industries Limited and Sunola Foods Limited were also given recognition as emerging winners of the top trend awards for their consistent improvement.
“I would like to congratulate the winners of this year’s MFI Award,” said Larry Umunna, TechnoServe’s regional director for West Africa. “They have demonstrated that the nutrition status of their consumers truly matters to them. They also recognize the link between nutrition and economic development.”
Dr. Jeremie Zoungrana, director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, added his praise as well. “You truly serve as a remarkable example of how food processors can effectively come together…in inclusive transparency in uplifting the wellbeing of Nigerians,” he said.
Prof. Chris Ogbechie, dean of Lagos Business School, remarked that he was glad the institution had supported the MFI initiative and urged companies to view fortification as value addition, rather than an additional expense.
“All of the award winners today, you are trailblazers,” said Prof. Olugbenga Ogunmoyela, president of the Consumer Advocacy for Food Safety and Nutrition Initiative. “We hope this will encourage other companies to come onboard.”
“For those that are not yet member organizations [of the MFI], I encourage you to join, because it’s a very laudable program that will make your business very competitive and also increase consumer satisfaction,” said Fred Chiazor, chairman of the National Fortification Alliance.
“We have begun to see the impact on our investment in Nigeria–especially the MFI, which has made significant improvement in fortification practices and commitments,” added Dr. Zoungrana.
Additional information is available on the MFI’s website.
Founded in 1968, TechnoServe is a leader in harnessing the power of the private sector to help people lift themselves out of poverty for good. A non-profit organization working in 30 countries, we work with people to build a better future through regenerative farms, businesses, and markets that increase incomes. Our vision is a sustainable world where all people in low-income communities have the opportunity to prosper.
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