From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Alternative namesNutri-bun, Nutriban
Place of originUnited States
Created byUSAID
Main ingredientswhole wheat flour, non-fat dried milk powder, soy flour, iodized salt
Food energy
(per 80 grams (2.8 oz) serving)
400 kcal (1675 kJ)
Similar dishesPandesal

Nutribun (also referred to as Nutri-bun or Nutriban) is a bread product designed by the United States Agency for International Development and originally distributed under the USAID Food for Peace program to alleviate childhood malnutrition in the Philippines between 1968 and 1970, with the program ending in 1997.[1][2] The base bread was made of a wheat blend flour and non-fat dried milk donated by the United States under the PL 480 Title II Food Aid.[2][3]


Nutribun was developed by a team of nutritionists and agrarian experts at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University between 1968 and 1970 and "was designed as a convenient 'ready-to-eat complete meal' for public elementary school feeding programmes to combat child malnutrition in the Philippines."[4] The bread was envisioned as a way to combat childhood malnutrition.[2][4] In addition to requiring the bread to be well fortified with nutrients, USAID also requested that the product be easy to produce using local ingredients, such as moringa leaf powder ("malunggay"), squash, banana powder and eggs in the Philippines.[1][4]


The 'base' of the bread is made from a blend of white and whole wheat flour mixed with yeast and a non-fat dried milk powder, although banana flour and coconut may also be used.[1] In the Philippines, the bread may be fortified with soy flour as a protein source,[2] or – as reported in 2019 – moringa leaf powder, squash, eggs, sugar, and salt may be used as main ingredients,[3][4] with attention given to flavor and texture to avoid organoleptic problems.[2] The wheat, milk, soy, moringa, and egg ingredients supply micronutrients, such as calcium, iron, and B vitamins.[2] The bun is made with iodized salt as a means of supplying iodine and sodium to the diet.[3] Each bun weighs 80 grams and contains 400 calories.[2][3]

Use in malnutrition[edit]

During the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines, the rate of malnutrition soared, especially among young children.[3] The government of the Philippines decided to take advantage of the United States' Food for Peace Program, and started its own five year nutrition program in 1971 (program would eventually become Operation Timbang). Starting in 1972, USAID began providing the Philippine government with thousands of loaves of Nutribun in addition to hundreds of tons of dried milk powder.[2] The Philippine government took advantage of Nutribun's flexible recipe and added domestically produced banana and plantain powder to the list of ingredients. The government took over production of the bread in 1975, though shipments of ingredients still arrived from USAID.

The Nutribun was initially developed by scientists as the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University during the late 1960s and early 1970s to overcome childhood malnutrition in the Philippines.[4][5] Imelda Marcos claimed credit for Nutribuns when she had bags, filled with Nutribuns, stamped with "Courtesy of Imelda Marcos-Tulungan Project" even though they were in reality donations by USAID and other local donors.[3][5]

Nutribun grew in popularity in the country due to its similarity to pan de sal, which remained the most consumed bread in the island nation.[3] After the introduction of Nutribun and the implementation of a nationwide food distribution program, the rate of malnutrition in the Philippines fell drastically. From 1971 to 1973, severe malnutrition in children was reduced from five percent to less than one percent. The Nutribuns were often distributed before school and were served with milk.[6] Following the decrease in the rate of malnutrition in the Philippines, the program was gradually phased out, with the final batches of Nutribun being distributed in 1997.[2] In 2014, the rising cost of food and increase in malnutrition cases in Manila led to the Nutribun program being reinstated, with the buns going back into limited production.[2][6]

In August 2019, Marikina City mayor, Marcelino Teodoro, reinstated Nutribun when city officials noticed that some public school students were undernourished, and "offering them Nutribun could provide them with proper nutrition."[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Nutrition and Related Services Provided to the Republic of the Philippines" (PDF). USAID Internal Document. 1979.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Rodriguez, Fritzie (October 4, 2014). "Nutribun: Remember me?". Rappler. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Dalupang, By Denison Rey A. (2016). "Bun fight: Was the Nutribun a Marcos project?". Newslab, Retrieved 2018-03-29.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Gilbert P. Felongsco (August 21, 2019). "Introduced during the 70s, 'Nutribun' makes comeback". Gulf News Asia. Retrieved August 24, 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Masagana 99, Nutribun, and Imelda's 'edifice complex' of hospitals". GMA News and Public Affairs. January 22, 2016. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
  6. ^ a b "'Nutribun' returns for Manila kids". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 26 July 2014. Retrieved 30 November 2016.