In the Philippines, malnutrition impacts about 3 million children, or nearly 20 percent of kids in the entire nation. One of the biggest problems is IDA, or iron deficiency anemia.

Coca-Cola Philippines has joined with several partners in the government and education sectors to provide a new drink called Minute Maid Nurisha to 3,500 children in the 6th District of Quezon City. Through the Minute Maid Nurisha Supplementary Program, Coca-Cola Philippines aims to help improve the health and well-being of school children.

Minute Maid Nurisha is a great tasting, orange-flavored, micronutrient-fortified juice drink that can help sustainably address IDA. The new program focuses on children at Sauyo Elementary School in Quezon City.

“IDA may lead to several health and economic problems, including stunted growth, tiredness, poor work performance and physical and cognitive underdevelopment,” said Dr. Imelda Angeles-Agdeppa, assistant scientist at the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) of the Department of Science and Technology. “It is best to treat IDA as early as possible.”

Since 2005, Coca-Cola Philippines has worked with FNRI to develop a beverage that will help alleviate IDA through the NutriJuice Program. A 2006 study has yielded positive results among children suffering from IDA. 

Coca-Cola expanded the partnership this year with FNRI to develop a wider-spectrum beverage product to not only help address IDA but also overall micronutrient deficiencies among school children, through the Minute Maid Nurisha Supplementary Program. 

Using the fruit and nature expertise of the Minute Maid brand, Coca-Cola and FNRI developed a clinically proven orange-juice drink that helps deliver 14 key nutrients to address common nutrient gaps in a child’s diet. Minute Maid Nurisha is given to school children ages six to nine for free for a period of 120 days.  

Minute Maid Nurisha is high in iron, which alleviates IDA, and contains 14 essential nutrients such as zinc, vitamins A, B-complex, C, D, and E. These nutrients aid a child’s physical and mental growth and development. 

“Globally, we believe that nourishing the youth of today enables us to help build better and stronger communities tomorrow,” said Adel Tamano, VP, public affairs and communications, Coca-Cola Philippines. “We continuously strive to develop and innovate our products that help improve the wellbeing not only of our business but of our consumers and the communities we serve. This is the very reason why Minute Maid Nurisha is not sold in local grocery stores but is distributed for free only through our partners, the Department of Education and the local government.”

Helen Grace Go, division superintendent of the Division of City Schools in Quezon City, said the Minute Maid Nurisha Supplementary Program highlights the value of partnerships between the government and the private sector. “In programs like Adopt-a-School, we are able to open channels for private institutions like Coca-Cola to help provide a stronger learning environment for students,” she said.

About 300 students enjoyed Minute Maid Nurisha drinks at the launch and had fun playing traditional Filipino games with volunteers from Coca-Cola Philippines. Parents and teachers learned about the benefits of the product and how to create healthy, budget-friendly meals.

“The health and wellbeing of our students in Quezon City is our utmost priority, and we look forward to another great partnership with Coca-Cola,” said Kit Belmonte, 6th district representative of Quezon City.   
Since 2008, the program has impacted 242,000 children in the Philippines, and the company is targeting 30,000 more in 2015.