Nutrition and Health

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Reporting period

The Sustainability section includes information from the combined entity for 12 months (DSM and Firmenich are reported as of 1 January 2023). The sustainability data in this Report cover all entities that belong to the scope of the Consolidated financial statements. If this is not the case this is mentioned specifically. As this is the first year of reporting for dsm-firmenich, no comparative data is available for 2022. For more information, see Sustainability statements.

As part of our purpose of bringing progress to life, we aim to help address malnutrition in all its forms, including micronutrient deficiencies, by helping to strengthen food systems globally, to improve equitable access to adequate nutrition, and consequently to improve health outcomes.

In 2022, a report by The Lancet Global Health concluded that one in two preschool aged children and two out of three women of reproductive age worldwide suffer from at least one micronutrient deficiency. According to WHO, improved nutrition leads to improved infant, child and maternal health, stronger immune systems, safer pregnancy and childbirth, lower risk of non-communicable diseases (such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease), and longevity.

Solving malnutrition is a global challenge, and one that we cannot address alone. We work together with our global partners, including the World Food Programme (WFP), UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), and World Vision International to address the root causes of malnutrition, and shape more just and sustainable food systems across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Furthermore, we participate in global networks such as Partners in Food Solutions (PFS) by leveraging our technical expertise to help increase the growth and competitiveness of African food companies. For example, our HNC business is proudly supporting the Millers for Nutrition (M4N) initiative, in collaboration with BMGF and other partners. Lastly, we have made several investments, such as in Africa Improved Foods (AIF) to help increase the local production of nutritious foods in the African continent.

Partnerships for Nutrition and Health

UN World Food Programme

The dsm-firmenich-WFP partnership ‘Improving Nutrition, Improving Lives’, in place since 2007, aims to solve malnutrition and contribute to achieving SDG2 (Zero Hunger). During more than 15 years of partnership, both organizations have helped fight nutritional deficiencies that stunt growth, hinder development, and threaten the lives of one in two people globally, greatly limiting their potential. Through the partnership we reach 35 million people annually with nutritionally improved products.

We offer WFP our technical and scientific expertise in nutrition, quality assurance and marketing, as well as financial assistance, to improve the availability and affordability of fortified, nutritious foods for people in need. dsm-firmenich and WFP are working together to drive the transformation of food systems, supporting local food companies and value chains in developing countries to deliver more affordable, fortified, nutritious food options to communities in need. To give one country example, in Peru, the partnership has supported 67 millers with technical assistance since January 2022 to produce fortified rice that looks, cooks, and tastes like ordinary rice, but crucially includes essential vitamins and minerals that help curb micronutrient deficiencies. Fortified rice is now included in three food-based social protection programs in Peru, resulting in 3.5 million school children receiving fortified rice in their school meals. Additionally, 256 retailers were trained since mid-2022 to promote the commercialization of fortified rice, enabling greater access to nutritious foods in the open market.

Through the rice fortification and retail projects of WFP country offices under the partnership, WFP and national stakeholders leveraged existing platforms to reach an estimated 14 million indirect beneficiaries with fortified rice and Social Behavior Change and Communication (SBCC) campaigns, with more than 320 million people receiving fortified rice through social protection programs globally. Furthermore, approximately 450 retailers and millers received technical support since January 2022 through the partnership.

Man feeding a child a cracker (photo)
Photo: WFP/Mehedi Rahman


Since 2013, UNICEF, dsm-firmenich, and Sight and Life (SAL) have partnered to improve nutrition for women and children. Built on multiple pillars, the partnership aims to expand the scientific evidence base and proof of viability of targeted nutritional interventions, to increase awareness of the importance of good nutrition, and to make nutritious food products accessible to those who need them most. Some examples of the work we do together in Nigeria, India and Mexico are below.

Creating an enabling environment and scaling up micronutrient powder uptake

The partnership’s main focus in Nigeria is to increase access to vital nutrients during the critical first 1,000 days of life in order to support optimal physical and cognitive development.

In 2023, we supported the Nigerian government in the following areas: (i) working toward the integration of micronutrient powders (MNPs) in the essential drugs list, (ii) starting the development of a social behavior change strategy including MNPs and multiple micronutrient supplementation (MMS) and (iii) defining and managing a pathway to certification for technically qualified and interested vendors to locally produce MNP/small quantity lipid-based nutrient supplements (SQLNS). By 2024, we aim to reach up to one million additional children aged 6 to 23 months and up to 200,000 pregnant women in UNICEF-supported humanitarian states.

The social movement on nutrition program

In India, we have worked together since 2019 to enable the platform ImpAct4Nutrition (I4N). This platform engages the private sector for workforce nutrition and aims to create a social movement around nutrition literacy in support of the National Nutrition Mission (POSHAN Abhiyaan). At November 2023, I4N had more than 490 pledged corporate partners and through them the platform has been able to reach more than 2.7 million employees (and families) by using the ACE (Assets, CSR and Employees engagement) card for Nutrition. Additionally, I4N have reached over 120 million citizens of India through good nutrition literacy by various means of mass/print and electronic media since January 2023.

Scaling up maternal and child health interventions among vulnerable population groups in Mexico

In 2023, through the partnership the MMS landscape in Mexico was mapped. This mapping enabled an alignment with other actors and helped avoid overlap in efforts around demand generation for maternal and child health interventions and efforts targeted at improving the relevant regulatory environment. In 2023, MMS reached women throughout the state of Yucatán. By 2024, the partners aim to expand the work in Yucatán and to further states across Mexico.

World Vision International

Our partnership with World Vision International and SAL, with the slogan of ‘Joining Forces for Last-Mile Nutrition’, aims to bring prosperity and good nutrition to the most vulnerable communities in the Global South. Leveraging the unique capabilities and know-how of each partner, we design and implement sustainable market-based solutions that bridge the gap between public and private efforts for improving nutrition and fostering local economic development. In 2023, the partners continued together in, among others, Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Brazil.

The maize value chain in Rwanda

In Rwanda, the partners collaborate to transform the local maize value chain, by supporting smallholder farmers with improved post-harvest processes to increase the quality and quantity of their produce. Through a partnership AIF, smallholder farmers have access to a stable market, while increasing AIF’s access to local, high-quality maize in Rwanda. In 2023, the program reached over 11,000 farmers, and after positive results, the pilot will be scaled to 20,000 maize farmers through World Vision’s own programming.

The EGGciting project

In Ethiopia, the partners collaborated on the EGGciting project, focusing on training smallholder farmers in poultry farm operation and feed management for improved nutrition, safety, quality, sustainability, and livelihoods. Simultaneously, the program aims to increase the accessibility of nutritious eggs in the local community. After a successful pilot, World Vision is exploring the scale-up of the model in Ethiopia, in collaboration with local governments.

Social distribution of nutrition in Brazil

In Brazil, the partners aim to empower women in last-mile communities through a distribution model for micronutrient-enriched products. In this model, women in vulnerable communities are provided with trainings in entrepreneurship and nutrition, and can sign up to become last mile entrepreneurs to sell nutritious products in their communities. The pilot was launched in 2022, In collaboration with Omnilife, a producer of cosmetic and nutritionally improved products. Since then, 50 women have participated in the pilot, with a door-to-door business model. An additional 500 women were supported with nutrition and entrepreneurship training. A successful closing ceremony of the pilot was held in December 2023.

Africa Improved Foods

AIF is a social enterprise with the mission of helping people in Rwanda and the wider region achieve their full potential through improved access to nutritious, locally sourced foods. These foods include mineral and vitamin rich porridges that help meet the nutritional needs of vulnerable population groups such as pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, older infants, and young children. AIF addresses the food challenges facing Africa by building resilient food systems through sourcing, manufacturing, and selling nutritious, affordable, and accessible products.

AIF was launched in 2016 in Rwanda as a public private partnership between the Government of Rwanda and a consortium comprising former DSM, the Dutch Development Bank (FMO), DFID Impact Acceleration Facility managed by CDC Group plc (CDC), and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group.

A recent report published by the Harvard Kennedy School and Endeva, entitled Fortifying Food Markets: Unlocking the potential of food fortification partnerships to improve nutrition highlighted AIF’s role in increasing accessible and affordable nutritious foods by improving food safety, reducing malnutrition, and contributing to broader development. AIF reaches 1.6 million consumers and beneficiaries daily through the WFP, and more than 90,000 children over six months old, as well as pregnant and lactating women in Rwanda, now have access to nutritious complementary foods. Additionally, AIF has contributed more than USD 900 million in discounted net incremental benefits to the African economy.

AIF’s Kigali factory contributes to the local and regional economy

AIF’s mission is to produce high-quality nutritious foods from local ingredients. Working with smallholder farmers in Rwanda and across the region, AIF improves their productivity and product quality, and is scaling this further with partners. AIF is focused on developing robust value chains that address the challenges of climate change and employment creation in the African food value chain. AIF’s Kigali factory employs over 470 skilled workers, and the regional procurement of goods and services (such as transportation) has led to indirect economic development across East Africa. Reaching more than 1.6 million consumers daily, AIF has proven that this model can be profitable while contributing to SDG 1 (No Poverty), SDG 2 (Zero Hunger) and SDG 13 (Climate Action).

Partners in Food Solutions

PFS works to increase the growth and competitiveness of food companies in Africa. These aims are achieved by inspiring business leaders and linking highly skilled corporate volunteers from a consortium of leading companies including dsm-firmenich, Cargill, General Mills, Hershey, Bühler, Ardent Mills, and J.M. Smucker Company with promising entrepreneurs and other influencers in the food ecosystem. The seven corporate partners have empowered hundreds of entrepreneurs to work toward stronger, more resilient food value chains across the African continent.

In 2023, dsm-firmenich employees contributed more than 1,894 volunteer hours working with 95 African customer organizations across eight countries. By sharing expertise, the volunteers were able to assist local entrepreneurs in growing their businesses and supporting a supplier base of more than 294,000 farmers. In total, 103 dsm-firmenich volunteers supported 126 service offerings to clients, of which 31 customer organizations are owned or managed by women (39% of the 95 worked with).

Project B.E.N.®

Project B.E.N.®, which stands for Better Eggs for Nutrition, is a cross-cutting innovation that addresses the entire egg value chain – from producer to consumer – saving lives and livelihoods. It smartly increases the production and consumption of eggs to greatly reduce childhood malnutrition in vulnerable. At the same time, farmers are able to increase their income due to increased egg productivity, lower production costs enabled by consistent high-quality inputs (feed, layers, technical assistance and veterinarian support), access to credit, and access to local more profitable markets, for example, school feeding programs.

Through an innovative business model called the Egg Hub, we collaborate with local poultry producers to help transform families into smallholder farmers that produce and sell eggs in vulnerable communities. The program started in 2021 and so far has engaged over 250 smallholder poultry farmers (60% women) across more than 80 farms in Peru, Brazil, and Kenya. The smallholder farmers on average experience a doubling of their income. The farmers reach their break-even point after two years, enabling them to finance at least 30% of the initial inputs for the next cycle by themselves, while paying back their loans, therefore ensuring the sustainability of the project. The economies of scale created by the egg hub also help increase the accessibility, affordability, and aspiration for eggs in the local community.

In 2023 Project B.E.N.® farmers in Latin America and Africa produced more than 22 million eggs impacting more than 450,000 people who consumed at least one egg per week, especially children and women at childbearing age. In Peru, we conducted a nutritional impact study in 2023 that proved that introducing eggs early on significantly improved growth velocity and gross motor development in infants who are experiencing growth faltering.

Project B.E.N.  (logo)

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