A social company with Costa Rican seal seeks to eradicate malnutrition in the country and transcend borders to bring its products to the Central American region and Haiti. This is “Nutrivida”, which was born six years ago thanks to an alliance between Florida Ice & Farm Company (Fifco) and Yunus Social Business. Currently, it has a range of nutritional products ranging from soups to oats, fortified for a healthy balanced diet.
What is Nutrivida’s difference from other food companies?
The company does not seek to maximize profits, but rather to have a social impact in the country, keeping its prices very low. “Almost 7 years ago we decided to explore the concept of “social enterprise”, which was a concept developed by Professor Muhammad Yunus from Bangladesh, but his idea spread to other parts of the world. The organization sells practically at cost. It does generate a small profit that allows having an impact over time to continue investing in growth,” explained Gisela Sánchez, director of Corporate Relations at Fifco.
Nutrivida has a portfolio of fortified products, including a cereal developed for pregnant women and children under two years of age, a fundamental stage for healthy development. “People must, -and more in these times of Pandemic-, prioritize foods that have high nutritional quality, when economic resources are limited for many families, and instead of buying something that does not add nutritional value, rather consider acquiring these products,” said Sánchez. On why the company has received so much support for more than 6 years, the manager assured that this is due to the continued to positive social impact that they have been having in the region, adds the director.
Volunteers at Nutrivida
A fundamental pillar of this socially-oriented company is volunteering, received both from Fifco itself, and other companies and individuals. “This has allowed staff from a lot of other companies to come over and help us pack, either destined for donations or sale on different social channels,” Sánchez said.
Nutrivida products reach the population through supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurants, institutional diners, private food services, government assistance programs such as the “Cen-Cinai” and the “Red de Mamas Pro-Nutrición” (Red Manu), which is made up of women who became ambassadors of good nutrition and who, thanks to the promotion and sale of the fortified foods that Nutrivida produces, have generated small businesses that allow them to earn additional income to cover the basic needs of their families.
Likewise, Nutrivida makes donations to institutions such as the Costa Rican Social Security Fund; Indigenous population organizations; children’s foster homes, and Fifco employees themselves, among other sectors.
Beyond Costa Rica
Nutrivida is in the process of exporting for the first time and Nicaragua will be the territory where the fortified products will initially go to. “We are now ready to export to Nicaragua, a country that also needs a lot of support, and we are doing it in alliance with a brewery there,” explained the corporate relations manager. They are still in the contract review but assured that they hope to start shipping the products starting this August.
The proposal has also been presented to Honduras and the possibility of exporting to the Central American country is being analyzed. Also, an evaluation process is underway with the World Food Program to take the products to other nations. “We are very hopeful that we will soon be a provider for the UN Food Program. It would be a transformational step for Nutrivida and Costa Rica”, Sánchez concluded.