What is a Fortified or Enriched Food?
Nowadays you hear things like Fortified Food, Enriched Food or even Superfood. What does it mean?
Well: enriched or fortified food is food to which vitamins, minerals and/or flavourings have been added. You will find these additives in fats and oils, milk and dairy products, cereals and cereal-based products, tea and other beverages, accessory food items, and infant formulas.
Is Food Enrichment allowed?
The short answer is "yes". On this page of the National Institute for Biotechnology Information you will find a historic overview of food fortification that started in 1924, when iodine was added to salt to prevent the common condition goiter.
Which kinds of food Fortification are there?
During the processing of food, vitamins, antals and flavourings can be lost. To compensate for this loss, artificial vitamins, minerals and flavourings are supplemented during processing. This often happens during the preparation of ready-made meals. We call this form of enrichment "restoration".
Vegetarian meat is an example of substitution. Now that more and more people have become vegetarians or vegans themselves, the food industry has started looking for a substitute product to which the same vitamins and minerals are added that are found in real meat. We call this "substitution".
Enrichment is, as the name says, adding extra vitamins and minerals to a product. Examples are: extra calcium added to milk, extra iron added to cornflakes and lemonade with extra vitamin C. If you eat healthy and above all enough you won't need enriched food. This is different for older people and pregnant women who often don't get their necessary nutrients on a daily basis. Even growing children who get a lot of exercise can prevent nutrient deficiencies with enriched food. However, these enriched products should not be seen as substitutes for natural products. For example, if you drink lemonade with added vitamin C as a replacement for an orange, you are missing other healthy nutrients from the orange. Fibres, for example.