Nutrition for Growth (N4G) commitment
VALID Nutrition has successfully delivered an efficacious and more cost-effective (20-30%), plant-based alternative, RUTF recipe - the first ever innovation in this vital market in 20 years. The recipe is superior to the standard product at treating iron deficiency anaemia and replenishing iron stores. Made from local ingredients, it delivers genuine choice and enables more competitive local manufacturing. In addition to the value-adding benefits to economies and societies in developing countries, the product can significantly increase treatment coverage within existing donor budgets. In 2019, the WHO commissioned a review of alternative RUTF formulations containing <50% protein from dairy to determine their efficacy, equity and cost effectiveness compared to the standard formulation (WHO 2019). However, and as a consequence of what was a highly flawed review process (published in April 2021), all plant-based RUTF innovations remain blocked indefinitely. Despite the FAO's Expert Committee in 2018 finding that protein quality rather than protein source is what matters in RUTF, this WHO Review finding now sustains an underperforming RUTF market that hinders local production and supports offshore supply of RUTF indefinitely. As was previously necessary from VALID and Concern Worldwide with CMAM back in 2002, and despite 15 years of R&D (including 3 major RCTs and a programmatic pilot by World Vision Malawi), VALID will work with partners to generate additional programmatic based evidence of efficacy that will put the benefits of plant-based RUTF beyond refute. VALID is also moving forward with other plant-based recipes for use with pregnant and lactating women as well as in a retail context to stimulate local agriculture and food manufacturing of effective, affordable and appealing nutritional products to help end all forms of malnutrition.
Reported progress shows that there is positive action for consumers, local manufacturers, and market competition as a whole