The food that the World Food Programme (WFP) supplies to its beneficiaries depends on the needs of the groups covered and the objectives of the project.
In emergencies or refugee situations, people may be totally dependent on WFP food. In this case, the key components of the WFP food basket are: a staple such as wheat flour or rice; lentils, chickpeas or other pulses; vegetable oil (fortified with vitamin A and D); sugar; and iodised salt. Often these are complemented with special blended foods, such as Corn Soya Blend, that have been fortified with important micronutrients.
The photo below shows an example of a daily ration that provides the required 2,100 Kilocalories (Kcal) of energy.
400g of cereal flour/rice/bulgur
60g of pulses
25 g of oil (vit. A fortified)
50 g of fortified blended foods (Corn Soya Blend)
15g of sugar
5g of iodized salt
Energy 2,100 Kcal
Protein 58 g
Besides energy, protein and fat, an adequate food basket supplies micronutrients such as vitamin A, iron, iodine and zinc. The food basket serves to prevent micronutrient deficiencies and other forms of malnutrition, or prevents them from deteriorating.
WFP beneficiaries are not always dependent on us for all their food needs. Sometimes the project only aims to supplement food that is available at the household level, so as to address specific nutritional needs. A “supplementary ration” is mostly given to a vulnerable group such as small children to prevent or treat malnutrition. It often consists of a fortified blended food, sugar and vegetable oil. An alternative ration could be a ready-to-eat food (RUF), which does not require any cooking or preparation and is also fortified with vitamins and minerals.
For a look at how WFP is improving the quality of its food basket, read this paper (PDF, 1.6 MB) from the Ten Minutes to Learn About...series.