A range of nutrition products is increasingly being used to tackle undernutrition, and over the last 10 years the number of products available on the market has multiplied. These include ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTFs), ready-to-use supplementary foods (RUSFs), fortified blended foods (FBFs) and micronutrient powders (MNPs).
The aim of this technical report is to provide greater clarity on what is known and where the evidence and information gaps are, to help develop clear guidance on the use of, and appropriate areas of support for, nutrition products for governments and other international agencies. The content of the report is based on key informant interviews and literature review.
Key Findings include:
There is good evidence that RUTFs are effective for the treatment of
severe acute malnutrition without medical complications.
Local production of RUTFs in developing countries has the potential of
stimulating the local economy, contributing to self-sufficiency and
reducing environmental waste. It does not guarantee lower prices.
The most cost-effective direct nutrition interventions are
breastfeeding promotion, vitamin A supplementation and distribution of
MNPs at a cost of less than US$12 per disability adjusted life year
Initiatives to tackle undernutrition should focus on 'progammes' and
not on 'products'.
Human Development Resource Centre (HDRC). Assignment Report: The Use of Nutrition Products for the Prevention and Treatment of Undernutrition. Human Development Resource Centre, UK (2011) 61 pp.