Powder to the people! That was the Dutch life- and materials-science company's novel approach in the fight against "hidden hunger," defined by the United Nations as the lack of essential vitamins and minerals (not food) affecting more than a billion people in developing countries.
"We wanted to improve the quality of the food basket," says sustainability director Fokko Wientjes, of the partnership between DSM and the UN's World Food Program, established in March 2007. DSM's answer: a tasteless powder called MixMe that for 2.5 cents a day can be added to fortify staple foods. It can be customized to suit different cultures, and the packaging, the size of a sugar packet, can withstand extreme transport conditions. Pilot projects in Bangladesh, Nepal, and Kenya have so far benefited 250,000 people. This year, DSM expects to produce 100 million packets.