Social business Nutrivida expands its campaign against malnutrition to Nicaragua

by Johnny McNulty

Nutrivida is a social business established to tackle undernutrition and malnutrition across Central America. This month, Nutrivida continued its expansion across the region.

After six years of providing affordable and popular fortified foods to families in Costa Rica, the social business Nutrivida began sales in October to Nicaragua, and will continue its expansion to Honduras and Guatemala in the first half of 2021. This move was announced earlier this year by Gisela Sánchez, a food industry executive who, along with Nobel Prize winner Professor Mohammed Yunus, created Nutrivida as an initiative to eradicate malnutrition across Central America and Haiti.

As a social business, Nutrivida does not aim to make a profit. It does break even, so that it is independent and not reliant on donations or philanthropy, and any excess income is reinvested in the core mission. Sánchez’s experience in the food industry led her to the realization that families were often purchasing low-quality foods due to a lack of options. Even when charitable or government food aid was available, parents would rather purchase their own food for the family table when possible. So, Sánchez concluded, a more effective route for eradicating malnutrition would be to make sure there are affordable, attractive, and nutritious options for all families.

Nutrivida is a social business that seeks to transform society in a positive way so that everybody has access to high quality food at the lowest cost possible.

Gisela Sánchez

The problem of malnutrition is widespread in Central America, with 14% of children experiencing stunted growth as a result, compared with 7.5% of children in South America.

Nutrivida has made considerable inroads into these markets, with sustainable growth over the past five years (and particularly the last 10 months) allowing them to move past the break-even point and begin expanding. The company began with three fortified products, which has expanded to 13 products with revamped packaging and branding to compete with traditional products. It has also become an officially recognized “Essential Costa Rica” brand.

The nine tons of products shipped to Nicaragua in October include Nutrivida’s beef, chicken, and bean soups, and their fortified chicken and beef spice mixes.

Children are served a highly nutritious Nutrivida meal

A family enjoys a Nutrivida meal

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