Nutrition Asia

Iron it out: Nestle and Wellnex Life on how new tech is propelling iron nutrition innovation

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Iron Nestlé Bioavailability

Nestle and Australia’s Wellnex Life are hoping to create awe in the iron category with new products that tap new innovations to boost bioavailability.

In this episode of Nutrition Asia, Nestle and Wellnex Life discussed how the iron nutrition sector could move ahead by using a new source of iron, as well as using encapsulation technology to enable the slow release of iron supplements in the body.

Wellnex Life, for example, sells its slow release iron gummies under the brand The Iron Company. Each gummy provides 20mg of elemental iron, with ferrous sulfate as the source of iron.

The purpose for designing a slow release iron supplement is to minimise gastric or stomach upsets, according to Wellnex Life’s CEO George Karafotias.

This also gives the product a point of difference in the market.

“There are a lot of competitors in this space and producing another normal iron supplement is never going to cut it and will not gain traction.

“It [the slow-release iron gummies] will allow the retailers to be able to charge a premium for this product, which increases their margin,”​ he said.

Nestle, on the other hand, has launched Nestle BUNYAD Iron+ for children in Pakistan. This is a dairy powder drink fortified with a new source of iron that is more suitable for use in dairy products.

Known as Ferri-Pro, the new source of iron is an iron-casein complex which is three times more absorbed in the body when compared to using ferrous sulfate in dairy products.

Ferri-Pro was co-developed by Nestle Research Center and Massey University’s Riddet Institute. The iron bioavailability study on Ferri-Pro has been published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

“This is part of our efforts to provide more affordable and nutritious products that help address micronutrient deficiency,”​ Petra Klassen Wigger, global scientific advisor nutrition and health, Nestle R&D said, on the launch of Nestle BUNYAD Iron+.

Other nutrients that the company has used to fortify foods include iodine, zinc, and vitamin A.

“Just to give you a size of the overall contribution that we are making as a company in 2021, we have provided over 207 billion servings of food and beverages that were fortified with at least one of the following micronutrients: iron, iodine, zinc, and vitamin A,” ​she said.

Aside from iron, Nestle BUNYAD Iron+ also contains vitamin A, C, and calcium. The company also has an online iron meter for parents to measure if their kids are taking sufficient dietary iron.

Watch the video to find out more.

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