Food Fortification

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Australians do not eat enough fruit and vegetables.

Just over half (51.3%) of Australians aged 18 years and over meet the guidelines for the recommended daily serves of fruit, while 7.5% met the guidelines for vegetable serves. One in twenty (5.4%) adults met both guidelines. 

It is not just here in Australia, but worldwide, there are more than 2 billion people who have micronutrient deficiencies because they are not getting enough essential vitamins and minerals each day. Micronutrients are necessary for many important body functions. Our body can’t make its own micronutrients, so they need to come from our diet.

Fortified foods were introduced in the 1930’s and 1940’s. The objective was to help boost vitamin and mineral intake of foods that adults and children were already eating, like grains and milk.

Read the Article

What Is It?

Food fortification is the process where foods have nutrients added to them that don’t naturally occur in the food. The purpose is to improve the nutritional quality of the food and add health benefits. For example, milk is often fortified with vitamin D, and calcium may be added to fruit juices. Foods are also fortified to replace vitamins and minerals that may have been lost during processing, handling or storing.

Today, fortified foods continue to play an important role in helping to address the gap when it comes to vitamin deficiencies, especially for children, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, people on calorie restricted diets or even people that follow a vegetarian or vegan diet

Read the Report

What foods are fortified?

Generally, the foods that are fortified are foods that are regularly bought, eaten most days and are not too expensive to buy.

Breakfast cereals, flour, bread, margarine, salt, dairy, milk and plant-based milk alternatives, juices and baby foods are all commonly fortified foods. Some essential vitamins and minerals that have known health benefits that are added to food include folic acid, iodine, vitamin D, iron, zinc, calcium, thiamine, omega-3 and plant sterols.

In Australia, there are some foods that are mandatory to fortify. Wheat flour is fortified with folic acid so any breads, rolls, cakes, and flour for using at home are fortified. Bread also uses iodised salt and margarine (edible oil spreads) must have added vitamin D.

Contact Emily Korir on LinkedIn

Are fortified foods beneficial for you?

There are a lot of people that simply are not eating enough fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts, seeds and legumes to get all the vitamins and minerals needed naturally. Simply put, many people wouldn’t reach their daily nutritional requirements without fortified food. Food fortification has helped reduce the impact of vitamin and mineral deficiencies, which can be debilitating and even deadly.

It is key to remember that even though fortified foods can be part of a healthy diet, they aren’t enough on their own. It is important to still eat a well-balanced, varied diet that is brimming with vegetables and other whole foods.