Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Delivering Stories of Progress


San Miguel gears up to distribute fortified ‘NutriBun’ for gov’t nationwide feeding program 

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San Miguel Foods (SMF) and the Department of Science and Technology’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) have partnered to standardize the NutriBun formulation used in government feeding programs for underprivileged children to help address malnutrition and prevent stunting among vulnerable communities. 

The agreement, formalized through the signing of a memorandum of agreement, is seen to enhance the effectiveness of government efforts to improve child nutrition and health nationwide. 

The premixes will be used by DOST-FNRI’s nationwide network of “adaptors”–makers of enhanced NutriBuns distributed to children beneficiaries of the program. 

The program aims to ensure that sufficient, standardized nutritional values go into every NutriBun so all children get the full nutritional benefits intended. At the same time, it will also allow for cost-effectiveness for the program’s adaptors. 

Through its flour milling unit San Miguel Mills, Inc., San Miguel Foods will also provide funding for FNRI’s research, and help deliver the precise nutrient bundle needed by children in each serving of the nutrient-packed bread. “Nutrition is an advocacy we have been focused on for many years now. This partnership will combine the research and development being done by by DOST-FNRI, and the technical know-how and production capabilities of San Miguel Foods. Ultimately, this will benefit many children, especially those in disadvantaged communities who do not get enough or proper nutrition,” said SMC president Ramon S. Ang. 

The company’s supply chain and logistical resources are also seen to complement DOST-FNRI’s network of enhanced nutribun adaptors, ensuring the program reaches more children all over the country. 

The urgency of delivering enhanced nutribuns is supported by alarming statistics from DOST-FNRI’s Expanded National Nutrition Survey in 2021. 

Their study revealed that 26.7% of children aged three to five years old and 19.7% of children aged five to 10 years old, are already considered stunted. 

Secretary Renato Solidum Jr. emphasized that partnerships with the private sector are integral to scale up the many programs and technologies DOST produces to address malnutrition. 

He also lauded the efforts of SMC and Mr. Ramon S. Ang to promote science and technology to advance national development. 

“SMC President Ramon Ang is one of the champions of Science, Technology, and Innovation, which can be considered as drivers of change. Mr. Ang is a firm believer that scientists, research and development outputs, and S&T services play a key role in societal and economic development.” 

Partnering with DOST-FNRI on the enhanced nutribuns programs is just one of the many ways the diversified conglomerate has supported the reduction of hunger and malnutrition in the country. 

San Miguel Foods President Francisco “Butch” Alejo III expressed the company’s intention to produce affordable products that address the nutritional needs of those in marginalized sectors, especially the youth. 

“Nourishing people is more than just providing affordable food. We want to create opportunities that will uplift generations of Filipinos. With our huge production capacities and DOST’s research capabilities, we can develop and deliver safe, delicious, and nutritious meals that fuel the mind and body, and invigorate the Filipino spirit,” Alejo said. 

Apart from producing nutritious products, the company also continues to prevent stunting in communities where it operates through its CSR program Handog Kalusugan, a three-year sustainable program that aligns with the country’s First 1,000 Days Law. 

The program focuses on the critical developmental phase in a child’s life, from conception to two years old. Now on its second run, the program has helped ensure that 97% of the babies chosen for the initiative recorded normal height and weight.

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