DSM, Buhler to start production of fortified NutriRice kernels

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Rice Nutrition Dsm

DSM and Buhler today announced the opening production facility of
their Chinese joint venture Wuxi NutriRice Co, marking the imminent
start of the first commercial production of nutritionally-enriched
rice kernels for mixing with natural rice.

In conceiving the joint venture, DSM brought to the table its experience in nutrient formulation, while Buhler, a process engineering firm, brought advanced technology in grain processing and food extrusion. Production is expected to commence at the facility in August, with an initial limited capacity to enrich around 80,000 tonnes of rice. "As the first facility of its kind, it is primarily intended for market development and it is anticipated that the capacity will be increased in the coming years."​ The development and production of NutriRice is expected to help improve the health and nutritional status of the Chinese population, for which rice is a staple product but where nutritional deficiencies still exist, particularly in iron and vitamin A. When people have enough to eat but their food is of poor nutritional value, they are said to suffer from "hidden hunger"​. This means they may still suffer from malnutrition, which can result in poor productivity or blindness. Moreover, as roll out is intended on a global basis, Wuxi NutriRice is expecting to create new opportunities for the rice industry in general. It plans to market the enriched kernels to rice millers and retailers, opening up the possibility for product differentiation on an enhanced health platform. Part of the problem with rice is that many of the natural nutrients in rice tend to be lost during rice-whitening and polishing process, so that milled rice has a lower micronutrient profile than unmilled rice. Vitamins and minerals can also be "washed off"​ in the traditional rice-rinsing process, according to DSM. The NutriRice process, which has been patented, involves the encapsulation of micronutrients within the kernel. Candidates for encapsulation include vitamins A and B, and iron and zinc, and multiple nutrients can be included in each kernel. Besides boosting the nutrient profile, the process is also said to boost bioavailability and stability, so that more of the vitamins and minerals are retained during storage. DSM has indicated that research into the technology behind NutriRice is on-going. "The company will carry out further research in the field of rice enrichment to better fulfil the nutrient and health needs of the people worldwide,"​ said Stephan Tanda, a member of DSM's managing board of directors. For several years now DSM has been running a Nutrition Improvement Program, which revolves around providing technical and scientific support for supplementation programmes around the world, and fortifying staple foods with essential vitamins and minerals. In March it announced a global partnership with the United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP) that aims to improve and increase nutritious food for people in poor countries and during humanitarian crises. The Dutch chemicals group pledged assistance in three ways: by providing expertise and knowledge in micronutrients; providing products, such as vitamins and minerals for food fortification; and financial assistance. Moreover DSM Vision 2010 - Building on Strengths, includes a strategy to build its presence and innovation in emerging markets, and practice sustainable and socially responsible entrepreneurship.

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