How fortification and enrichment transform food’s nutrition

Food manufacturers and supplement companies utilize food fortification and enrichment to significantly enhance the nutritional content of everyday foods. These key strategies are essential for delivering extra health benefits to consumers, ensuring that the foods we enjoy are not only tasty but also nutritionally robust.

These methods are essential for integrating vital micronutrients into our diet, such as vitamins and minerals that our bodies cannot produce internally and must be acquired through dietary intake. Those nutrients are required by humans in very small amounts and both fortification and enrichment practices aim to address this gap, by easily introducing them into our diets.

However, these two strategies serve different purposes and target distinct nutritional needs. Understanding these processes can help businesses in the food industry make more informed decisions about product formulation and compliance with nutritional regulations.

Food fortification to face global nutrition challenges

Fortification refers to the addition of micronutrients to foods that aren’t naturally present or are present in insignificant amounts. This method is primarily used to prevent or correct widespread nutrient deficiencies in the general population.

According to the Codex Alimentarius (a collection of internationally accepted food standards, codes of practice, and guidelines), the number of micronutrients to add should be sufficient to correct or prevent the deficiency when the food is consumed in normal amounts by the population at risk, but not likely to result in excessive intakes by individuals with a high intake of the fortified food [1].

The process of food fortification involves selecting foods that are widely consumed and usually processed centrally, making it easier to integrate fortification into existing production and distribution systems. Staple foods and condiments are the obvious choice for fortification, given their consistent consumption by large sections of the population.

One of the most significant examples is fortifying salt with iodine, a practice dating back to the 1920s, which has dramatically reduced goiter and other iodine deficiency disorders globally [1]. Other examples include:

  • Adding B vitamins and folic acid to grains.
  • Adding calcium to orange juice and soy products.
  • Adding various other micronutrients to cereals, bottled water, and beverages.

D-Alpha-Tocopherol, the natural form of vitamin E, is known for its high antioxidant properties and it is also commonly added to various foods and drinks. For instance, breakfast cereals, plant-based milk, and fruit juices are fortified with vitamin E to enhance their nutritional value and appeal to health-conscious consumers.


It may interest you: Why protect breakfast cereals with natural antioxidants


Food enrichment for restoring nutritional integrity

While fortification deals with adding new nutrients, enrichment involves restoring the nutrients that are lost during the processing of food. Food preparation methods that utilize higher temperatures, longer cooking times, and large amounts of water or oil (which is then discarded) will increase the loss of some vitamins and minerals. Other factors affecting nutrient retention include pH and exposure to air and light. The enrichment of foods aims to bring them back to their original nutritional state or better.

Commonly enriched foods include bread, flour, pasta, and rice, which often lose significant amounts of natural nutrients during milling and refining, as well as olive oils in which the phenolic antioxidants remaining in the residues are reincorporated into the oil. Another example is adding vitamins A and D to defatted milk to reproduce the content of those vitamins in whole milk.

Vitamin E is commonly used to enrich baked goods, like whole grain bread, and cooking oils. While many oils naturally contain vitamin E, those derived from high heat or extensive processing may have reduced levels of this nutrient. For this reason, they often need to be enriched.

Practical implications and consumer benefits of fortification and enrichment

Food fortification and enrichment have several benefits for public health. They can improve the nutritional status and health outcomes of vulnerable groups, such as pregnant women, children, and elderly people. This preventive approach can also lower the burden of healthcare costs and improve the quality of life of individuals and communities [2].

Moreover, food fortification and enrichment are relatively low-cost, scalable, and sustainable interventions that can reach a large proportion of the population through staple foods and commonly consumed products. However, choosing high-quality and effective supplements is key, especially in the context of vitamin E supplementation.

For those looking to enrich their food products or dietary supplements, BTSA offers an outstanding solution with Nutrabiol® E. This natural form of Vitamin E surpasses its synthetic counterparts in both biological activity and health benefits. Because of its higher bioavailability, Nutrabiol® E is absorbed more efficiently by the body and retains its beneficial effects longer. This means that incorporating Nutrabiol® E into food products not only enhances their nutritional profile but also maximizes health benefits for consumers.

Explore our website if you want to know more about the best option to fortify or enrich your food products with Natural Vitamin E!


1. Food Enrichment: An Overview. ScienceDirect Topics. Available at: Accessed on 21 April 2024.
2. Ofori, K.F.; Antoniello, S.; English, M.M.; Aryee, A.N.A. Improving Nutrition through Biofortification–A Systematic Review. Front Nutr 2022, 9, 1043655.