Ultra Rice® looks like rice, smells like rice and tastes like rice. But each grain is packed with vitamins and minerals.

When these nutritional granules are blended with milled rice, usually at a 1:100 ratio, the resulting product is nearly identical to traditional rice ‒ but much more nutritious.  Abbott nutrition scientists are working with PATH to improve its Ultra Rice fortification technology in ways that reduce costs while improving nutritional value, ease of manufacturing, stability and taste.

“It’s one thing to pack nutrients into rice. But you have to do it in a way that the consumer is going to accept,” said Dan Schmitz, Director of Analytical Research at Abbott Nutrition. Enhancing a daily staple with nutrients so that it still looks, cooks and tastes like rice – and keeping it affordable – is a considerable challenge. By combining the nutrition expertise of Abbott and PATH, the partnership aims to introduce a new formulation of Ultra Rice that will effectively deliver nutrients to help address malnutrition.

PATH and Abbott’s foundation, the Abbott Fund, also are working to build local production capacity, expand distribution of fortified rice in India’s public and private sectors and develop low-cost quality assurance systems at rice miller sites to ensure production of high-quality fortified rice.

Through the public sector alone, the Indian government provides approximately 25 million metric tons of rice to 325 million consumers – which points to the potentially far-reaching impact of Ultra Rice in India. In addition, because Ultra Rice will be manufactured by local businesses and rice millers, the program will build and empower local capacity and strengthen local distribution chains.

More broadly, the enhanced Ultra Rice technology developed by PATH and Abbott nutrition scientists, product developers and food engineers holds great potential to reduce malnutrition in many other countries where malnutrition is high and rice is a staple food.