Iron fortification of staple foods is a common practice around the world to reduce the prevalence of iron-deficiency anemia. More recently, fortified condiments, including salts, sauces, and powders, have been tested in various efficacy trials. However, there is limited information on how nutritional, environmental, and experimental factors affect their efficacy and effectiveness. The purpose of the present work was to systematically review performance factors affecting the efficacy of condiment fortification trials. Three databases were searched using a standardized keyword search and included based on four-point inclusion criteria. Studies were evaluated against a quality assessment tool and effect sizes were calculated. Studies were ranked as low or high performing, based on whether or not they significantly improved iron-deficiency outcomes (hemoglobin, anemia prevalence, and ferritin levels). Of the 955 retrieved studies, 23 were included—of which, nine performed poorly, eight performed highly, and six were classified as neither because they did not meet the criteria of assessing the three iron outcomes. Results showed that unsuccessful trials did not consider environmental factors such as parasitic infections, nutritional factors such as micronutrient deficiencies other than iron, consumer acceptability of the product or experimental factors such as monitoring and adherence to the trials. Two common performing factors identified among those studies performing highly vs. those that did not were the control of sensory changes and monitoring of consumption compliance (i.e., dose delivery). The present work can be used as decision-making support for nutrition policy makers when determining the appropriate implementation of condiment fortification programs.
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