• Applying the Food Multimix concept for sustainable and nutritious diets

      Zotor, Francis B.; Ellahi, Basma; Amuna, Paul; University of Health and Allied Sciences; University of Chester (Cambridge University Press, 2015-08-11)
      Background: Despite a rich and diverse ecosystem and biodiversity, worldwide, more than 2 billion people suffer from micronutrient malnutrition or hidden hunger. Of major concern are a degradation of our ecosystems and agricultural systems which are thought to be unsustainable thereby posing a challenge for the future food and nutrition security. Despite these challenges, nutrition security and ensuring well balanced diets depend on sound knowledge and appropriate food choices in a complex world of plenty and want. We have previously reported on how the food multimix (FMM) concept, a food-based and dietary diversification approach can be applied to meeting energy and micronutrient needs of vulnerable groups through an empirical process. Our objective in this article is to examine how the concept can be applied to improve nutrition in a sustainable way in otherwise poor and hard-to-reach communities. We have reviewed over 100 FMM food recipes formulated from combinations of commonly consumed traditional candidate food ingredients; on average five per recipe, and packaged as per 100 g powders from different countries including Ghana, Kenya, Botswana, Zimbabawe and Southern Africa, India, Mexico, Malaysia and United Kingdom; and for different age groups and conditions such as older infants and young children, pregnant women, HIV patients, diabetes and for nutrition rehabilitation. Candidate foods were examined for their nutrient strengths and nutrient content and nutrient density of recipes per 100 g were compared to reference nutrient intakes (RNIs) for the different population groups. We report on the nutrient profiles from our analysis of the pooled and age-matched data as well as sensory analysis and conclude that locally produced FMM foods can complement local diets and contribute significantly to meeting nutrient needs among vulnerable groups in food-insecure environments. Key words: food multimix, candidate foods, sustainable, food security, resource-poor, nutrition interventions.