Madrid, 30th June 2021. The Siro Group Foundation has presented the first Nutritional Biscuit enriched with vitamins and minerals that has the vocation of being able to combat malnutrition in any population group over three years of age in any territory, being able to provide, for only 30 cents, the energy, nutrients and most of the vitamins and minerals that a person needs to cover their recommended daily intake. The Foundation thus achieves a key milestone in its aim to combat malnutrition in the world, a situation that affects almost 690 million people in the world, or 8.9% of the world’s population, according to data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), a figure that has increased by 60 million in five years.
The aim of this product, which is not for profit, is to be distributed through collaboration networks with institutions that share the objective of fighting malnutrition anywhere in the world, be they NGOs, foundations, private companies, local administrations, etc., both globally and locally in different territories.
For its development, the recommendations of the CODEX Alimentarius Global have been taken into account, as well as the criteria of the nutrient profile model of the Pan American Health Organisation.
The main difference between this biscuit and other existing products is that for just 30 cents it provides at least 50% of the vitamins and minerals a person needs every day, specifically vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, C, D and E, and folic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium and iodine, as well as being a source of protein and high in fibre. Wholemeal flours, high oleic sunflower oil, and reduced amounts of salt and sugars below the critical limit stipulated by the WHO have been used in its production, obtaining a Nutriscore A rating.
It is being manufactured in the Cerealto Siro Foods factories in Toro, Zamora (Spain) and Mem Martins (Portugal).
For the distribution of this Nutritional Biscuit, the Siro Group Foundation is weaving a network of partners who share its objective of fighting malnutrition in the world, which already includes HM Hospitales, HM Hospitales Research Foundation, MAPFRE Foundation, Food For The Poor, Cáritas Arquidiocesana de Guatemala, Digisalud and DHL Supply Chain, among other collaborators, and is open to new partners.
“Ending malnutrition in the world is a very ambitious goal that we cannot achieve alone. We have managed to develop this product at a very low cost, and this is the first step, but we need to collaborate with other institutions, companies and organisations that share our purpose so that it can reach those populations that need it most, and we are already weaving this network of collaborators that is open to new partners”, said Juan Manuel González-Serna, President of Fundación Grupo Siro.
The presentation of this nutritional biscuit took place in the Reina Sofia Auditorium of the University Hospital HM Sanchinarro, and was attended by Dr. Juan Abarca Cidón, president of HM Hospitals, who stressed that, “since HM Hospitals became aware of the existence of this nutritional biscuit we have turned to this initiative because we share the values that drive the Siro Group Foundation to its development. In addition, as health professionals we find it inconceivable that in the 21st century there are still problems of malnutrition in the world, and this initiative, by combining innovation, talent and teamwork, makes decisive progress in solving this endemic global problem”.
Pilot project in Guatemala
To validate the efficacy of the consumption of the biscuit as a food supplement for the management of malnutrition and its positive impact on health, the Siro Group Foundation will launch a clinical trial in Guatemala, which is being led by HM Hospitales Research Foundation, with a group of 200 children aged between 3 and 6 years belonging to the Archdiocesan Caritas network of Guatemala. The choice of this country is due to the fact that in Guatemala 49.8% of children under 5 years of age suffer from chronic malnutrition, i.e. it affects one out of every two children under 5 years of age. It is the first place in Latin America and the fourth in the world in terms of child malnutrition.
To achieve the best possible impact on the health of these children, the ration and the recipe have been adapted to the specific deficiencies of this population group and the territory in which they live, specifically by increasing the intake of vitamins B12 and D and folic acid, calcium and iodine. Thus, the consumption of one serving (4 biscuits) would represent at least 50% of the recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals, while on the other hand, the presence of nutrients that have optimal levels in the entire population, such as vitamin A, has been reduced. All this, following the recommendations of the Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama, attached to the WHO.
The changes in the health of the population studied as a result of the consumption of the biscuit will be measured following the clinical protocol developed by the HM Hospitales Research Foundation and a renowned group of paediatric doctors from HM Hospitales, together with the nutrition and development team of I+DEA and Cerealto Siro Foods by analysing the analytical improvement of micronutrients at the beginning and end of the intervention (after 6 to 9 months).
The Foundation has already donated 40,000 kilos of product to this country and will launch a clinical study that it has developed together with the HM Hospitales Research Foundation, the execution of which will be possible thanks to the support and involvement of Cáritas Arquidiocesana de Guatemala and Digisalud, mainly.
Dr. José Mª Castellano, scientific director of HM Hospitales Research Foundation, says about the project and the clinical study to be developed in Guatemala that, “HM Hospitales Research Foundation has participated in the elaboration of the protocol of the prospective clinical study that aims to demonstrate the improvement in analytical parameters of children who receive the fortified biscuit compared to a ‘placebo’ biscuit. The rigorous scientific methodology is what will allow extrapolating the results of the study to other regions of the world so that the Cerealto Siro Foods biscuit becomes a disruptive element in child malnutrition”.
The future vision of the Siro Group Foundation with regard to this project is a solid and long-term implementation in specific territories where malnutrition and food insecurity exist, both for the distribution of the biscuit and for the promotion of good eating habits, as well as the generation of opportunities for the population, either by taking advantage of raw materials or favouring local production, and even expanding the range of this type of products.
About Fundación Grupo Siro
The Siro Group Foundation was created in 2007 by Juan Manuel González Serna and Lucía Urban, founders of the Siro Group (now Cerealto Siro Foods), with the aim of ensuring the continuity of their business group and bequeathing their company to the Foundation.
The Foundation carries out a wide range of activities that reflect the commitment of its founders to contribute value to Society based on its four foundational purposes:
The Foundation’s purpose is focused on combating malnutrition in the world by boosting and promoting, intellectually and financially, ideas and projects that impact our environment. In addition to favouring the social integration of people at risk of exclusion, the awarding of scholarships for educational excellence, support for exceptional medical treatments for collaborators and their families, and the recovery and enhancement of the historical, artistic and environmental heritage of the areas where the business group operates.