Iloilo City eyes production of ‘nutribun’ to address malnutrition

wikipedia photo

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

The city government of Iloilo is eyeing its own production of the fortified bread known as Nutribun to address the issue of malnutrition in the city.

City Mayor Jerry Treñas said that the Iloilo City Nutrition Center (ICNC) will collaborate with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) on producing Nutribun in its 4-storey nutrition center at General Luna Street, Iloilo City Proper.

“We will partner with DOST so that we can produce Nutribuns for Iloilo City […] The DOST has already formulated the Nutribun, and we will learn from them,” he said in a press conference on Tuesday.

Nutribun is a “ready-to-eat and complete meal” developed by the United States Agency for International Development’s mission in the country during the late 1960s.

It was designed as supplementary food for feeding programs, primarily serving during emergencies like disasters and to combat malnutrition among elementary school students.

The original Nutribun formula consisted of wheat flour (100%), nonfat dry milk solids (14%), sugar (12%), vegetable oil (5%), salt (1.5%) and yeast (1%).

In 2022, the DOST-Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) introduced an “enhanced nutribun” (E-Nutribun), which comes in two new flavors: orange and purple sweet potato.

The E-Nutribun weighs 165 grams and contains 502 calories, 17 grams of protein, 6 milligrams of iron, and 384 micrograms of vitamin A, meeting 96% of the recommended dietary intake.

According to the DOST-FNRI, the E-Nutribun does not contain artificial coloring and flavoring to ensure its healthy quality.

In October 2023, DOST-Region 6 turned over 2,500 E-Nutribuns to 23 schools in the town of San Dionisio in the northern Iloilo province.

Meanwhile, three businesses in the region have approved licensees in the production of E-Nutribuns: Waffle Time Inc. in Iloilo City, Bread Basket and Pastry Shop in Roxas City, Capiz, and AJJJ Bakeshop from Bacolod City, Negros Occidental.

Mayor Treñas mentioned that the city government will provide supplemental feeding materials and programs for elementary students.

“The first few years of childhood are crucial. That’s why we will ensure that they have sufficient nutrition for their brain development,” he emphasized.