Food Security and Nutrition Network

"Making Food Aid Fit-for-Purpose in the 21st Century" from the USAID-funded Food Aid Quality Review (FAQR)

"Making Food Aid Fit-for-Purpose in the 21st Century" from the USAID-funded Food Aid Quality Review (FAQR)

Posted by on 3 Nov 2017

On behalf of the Food Aid Quality Review project at Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, funded by USAID office of Food for Peace, we are pleased to share our paper: “Making Food Aid Fit-for-Purpose in the 21st Century: A Review of Recent Initiatives Improving the Nutritional Quality of Foods Used in Emergency and Development Programming”, which was just published online in the Food and Nutrition Bulletin[1].

This article reviews progress made since 2011 in developing food aid products that are fit-for-purpose; that is, appropriately formulated to save lives in emergencies and promote healthy mothers and children in non-emergency contexts. It highlights important changes made in food aid products since 2011, and identifies persisting knowledge gaps that should be prioritized in future research relevant to operations using food aid. We felt this would be of interest to the group given the role of international food assistance in the global context of large-scale, recurrent humanitarian emergencies.

Key messages outlined in the publication are:

  • There has been an ongoing effort to review and improve the state of international food aid, which has resulted in USAID adopting uniform micronutrient specifications for 21 products, upgrading the micronutrient content of 8 products, developing 4 new products, and establishing, with global partners, minimum nutrient levels in the micronutrient premix for RUFs.
  • Continual improvements to food aid products and activities are critically important to meeting the U.S. government’s global nutrition commitments via the Global Food Security Act of 2016, advancing the short-term objective of ensuring all people at all times have sufficient food to lead healthy and productive lives, and achieving the ultimate goal of global security and prosperity.  
  • Despite the growing body of research on food assistance, major knowledge gaps remain. Studies aiming to fill these knowledge gaps must be a more scientifically rigorous.


This publication complements other publications by the FAQR team available on our website at:

These include:  

  • Program changes are effective and cost‐effective in increasing the amount of oil used in preparing corn soy blend porridge for treatment of moderate acute malnutrition in Malawi. Available here.
  • Effective delivery of social-behavioral change communication through a care group model in a supplementary feeding program. Available here.
  • The role of dairy in the comparative effectiveness and cost of fortified blended foods versus ready-to-use foods in treatment of children with moderate acute malnutrition: A narrative review. Available here.