Food Intake Guides Fortification Nutrient Levels

Learn what foods are frequently eaten in your country and set standards for the levels of nutrients to add via fortification based on this information.

Cereal Grains

When considering wheat, maize, and rice, consider both the primary and secondary grains available. If rice is the main staple, for example, enough foods made with wheat may be eaten that wheat flour fortification could still have a positive health impact.

For more information:

Grain data in our Country Profiles is from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The grain available for human consumption accounts for domestic production, imports, exports, grain that is stored or released from storage annually, grain used for animal feed, grain saved for seed, and grain that is wasted.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agriculture Service has grain consumption data for some countries. On the website, under “categories,” choose “Grain and Feed.” Select the custom date and country. Then select the annual report from the results.

The International Grains Council sells an annual report on world grain statistics with data for some countries.

Other Food Vehicles

Oil and sugar are often practical food vehicles for vitamin A. Salt is commonly fortified with iodine. Milk often is fortified with vitamin D. Comprehensive food fortification programs will consider which foods or combination of foods have the potential to reach the largest number of people with the least cost.

For more information:

Guidelines on Food Fortification with Micronutrients, published by the World Health Organization and FAO. Available in Chinese, English, and French.

Fortification Rapid Assessment Tools (FRAT) combine a simplified 24-hour recall and food frequency questionnaire. The six-part questionnaire provides a minimum amount of information about consumption patterns to help identify appropriate foods for fortification. FRAT questionnaire can be stand-alone surveys or added to an existing survey.


Uganda did a great job of including fortification related questions in a national survey. Above, Helena Pachon, left, of the FFI staff, meets with Uganda Ministry of Health staff in 2015 to discuss analyzing the data. Pictured with Helena, from left, are Jacent Assimwe, Sarah Ngalombi, and Carolyn Balwanaki. 

Food Intake:

National food consumption surveys measure a population's food intake. They often use 24-hour recall methods and food frequency questionnaires. The surveys are often not available nationally, however sub-national information is frequently available from ministries of health, non-governmental organizations, and nutrition departments at universities.

Household income and expenditure surveys are multi-purpose instruments that usually report on grains, sugar, and oil. Note that expenditures do not always reflect consumption. Also, these are based on households rather than individuals, and the survey does not usually include foods eaten outside the home. The surveys can help determine geographic areas where a food is widely consumed.

Panel surveys are sometimes conducted over time with representative households. These are usually annual. They can be used to track changes in food preferences and in a wide range of socioeconomic factors. Results are likely to be available from the National Bureau of Statistics. Some data sets are available from the International Food Policy Research Institute. Go to to select your country and see what data is available.

Food Balance Sheets from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations list food available per capita in a country. On the website, choose the country, then the most recent year, and click “Show Data.”

This Food Intake outline is based on a presentation made by Janneke H. Jorgensen of the World Bank. See the full presentation.

Consider typical food consumption patterns when planning fortification programs. These flour-based foods are all common in Asia. Photo by Karen Codling.

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Country profiles on our website list wheat, maize, and rice availability for individual countries based on data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).