Ultra Rice: Feeding Families for the Future

Ultra Rice Is Fighting Malnutrition In India

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Fortified Ultra Rice is bringing nutrition to the people who need it most. 

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JUL. 18, 2019   3 MIN. READ

Nutrition supports good health at every stage of life, but it's especially important for kids. Childhood is a crucial time for development of the brain and body, both of which rely on essential vitamins and minerals like iron, vitamin A and essential B vitamins.

A balanced diet is the best way to get all the nutrients you need, but that's not always possible for everyone. Leading international nonprofit, PATH, created Ultra Rice® as part of a solution to that problem.

Abbott strives to improve lives all over the world through the development of high-quality nutrition products that protect families by helping to supply the essential nutrients that keep people healthy. By partnering with PATH, Abbott scientists were able to continue this important mission.

Searching for a Solution

Malnutrition in India affects millions of people every day. As nutrition experts, PATH and Abbott scientists saw an opportunity to collaborate to create a better Ultra Rice: a cost-effective, scalable and sustainable system for delivering essential nutrients in a form that people would want to eat.

PATH's Ultra Rice technology provided the opportunity to improve on an already fortified grain that would work for the community. Rice is a staple food for about 65 percent of India’s population — with so many people already growing, cooking and eating the grain, it was a viable option for providing a source of better nutrition.

Overcoming Challenges

Abbott's goal was to improve the Ultra Rice recipe to make a nutrient-rich option that could be distributed to large numbers of people. They needed a product that looked, cooked, tasted and felt like regular rice.

Ultra Rice is created with a mixture of rice flour and a nutrient blend that is made into a rice-like "grain" that is added into the normal rice supply. Rice would not only provide iron, but folic acid and vitamins A, B1, B3, B6 and B12 to help support vision and cognitive function.

Today, this super grain is locally produced and mixed with regular rice at ratio of 1-to-100, meaning for every 100 grains of regular rice is a grain of Ultra Rice.

Graphic: Fortifying Rice to Fight Malnutrition


Looking Forward

Ultra Rice is already part of a school lunch program in Karnataka. Ultra Rice helps feed nearly half a million kids each day and the effects have been undeniable.

"Children are eating with more interest than before," said Karnataka school teacher Mantesh Hurakadli. "We've noticed improved focus in their studies and better performance in sports."

Ultra Rice doesn't just fight hunger, it also helps provide kids with the nutrition they need to live long, fulfilling lives. R. Snehal, a district councilwoman for the city of Dharwad in Karnataka. "When these kids eat better, they also live better. They're able to grow into healthy adults who can have healthy children of their own. This is about the future of the community."


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Nutrition has long been linked to better performance, whether it's propelling athletes toward big victories or helping students ace important tests. But more recently, experts have begun to wonder whether certain nutrients could impact performance in specific ways.

As part of an ongoing collaboration between Abbott, the University of Illinois, and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, a new study set out to answer this question by examining nutrition's impact on the performance of men and women in the U.S. Air

Reference Page Path

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That's why the Center for Nutrition, Learning, and Memory (CNLM) — a pioneering research partnership between Abbott and the University of Illinois — is collaborating on a multi-year study with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to examine the connection between nutrition and brain performance. They're interested in how nutrition affects the brain and in how exercise and nutrition can help improve airmen's cognitive function—attention, focus and decision-making abilities— as well as physical endurance. And while the study is focused on individuals serving in the armed forces, this nutrition research stands to benefit everyone.

Reference Page Path