The search for sustainable solutions: Producing a sweet potato based complementary food rich in vitamin A, zinc and iron for infants in developing countries

Oluyimika Yanmife Adetola, Oluseye Olusegun Onabanjo, Aliza H. Stark*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Deficiencies of vitamin A, zinc and iron are prevalent among infants and young children in developing countries. This is often due to consumption of unfortified cereal-based foods. Two nutritionally balanced sweet potato-based complementary foods containing locally available products were developed to help combat micronutrient deficiencies. Composite flours from orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP), soybean and carrots were produced by drying, milling and blending in the ratio of 64.6:34.8:0.7 and 61.3:37.7:1.0, respectively. The formulations were evaluated for nutrient composition and compared with a commercially cereal-based product (Control) and the Codex Alimentarius Commission Guidelines for complementary foods for infants and young children. The newly formulated OFSP-based complementary foods (OFSP-CFs) had higher levels of protein and fat compared to the Control. However, the latter was higher in carbohydrates and energy. The OFSP-CFs met the stipulated values for energy (≥ 400 kcal/100 g), protein (≥ 15%) and fat (10 – 25%) as specified in the Codex standards. Vitamin A (2057 – 2064 µg RAE/100 g) and zinc (8.82 – 10.38 mg/100 g) were significantly higher (p < 0.05) than levels in the Control (370 µg RAE/100 g and 2.5 mg/100 g, respectively). OFSP-CF2 was highest in iron content (9.95 mg/100 g). The newly formulated complementary foods exceeded the minimum recommended standards (at least 50% of daily recommendation in an estimated ration of 50 g) for zinc (>100%) and iron (>70%). Furthermore, the blends contained more than 200% of the requirement for daily vitamin A intake as stipulated in the Codex unlike the Control which only met about 46%. OFSP-CFs could improve the vitamin A, zinc and iron intake of infants and young children better than the Control. They may also serve as a sustainable food-based strategy for reducing vitamin A, iron and zinc deficiency as well as protein-energy malnutrition among infants and young children in Nigeria and other developing countries.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere00363
JournalScientific African
StatePublished - Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
OYA, OOO and AHS conceptualized the research design. OYA and OOO were responsible for the methodolgies and OYA carried out the experiments, data curation, and wrote the original draft of the manuscript. OYA OOO and AHS critically reviewed and edited the manuscript AHS was responsible for funding aquisition. All authors approved the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020


  • Complementary foods
  • Iron
  • Orange-fleshed Sweet Potatoes
  • Vitamin A
  • Zinc


Dive into the research topics of 'The search for sustainable solutions: Producing a sweet potato based complementary food rich in vitamin A, zinc and iron for infants in developing countries'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this