Zero Hidden Hunger EU: Tackling micronutrient malnutrition and hidden hunger to improve health in the EU

1 January 2024 – 31 December 2027

Micronutrient deficiency is a form of malnutrition that occurs due to low intake and/or poor absorption of minerals and vitamins and can negatively affect human health and development. Children, adolescents, women of reproductive age (including during pregnancy) and older adults, as well as immigrant and ethnic minority groups and those affected by social inequality or poverty, are particularly at risk of micronutrient deficiencies. This represents around 70% of European citizens.

While addressing this public health problem is a priority,  better data are needed on the prevalence and causes of micronutrient deficiencies across different regions and population sub-groups in the EU. These data would allow us to predict and identify those most at risk, and centre them in discussions about how to implement measures to support individuals in meeting dietary requirements for micronutrients of the highest public health concern.

In response to this pressing issue, the Zero Hidden Hunger EU project aims to generate comprehensive data on the prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies across the EU population and identify root causes.  

 Zero Hidden Hunger EU will:  

  1. provide estimates of the true prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies, based on priority biomarker and micronutrient intake data in European populations, and their associated health costs, focusing on high-risk population subgroups 
  2. produce and disseminate the best possible evidence to develop context-specific, tailored food-focused solutions to ensure an adequate supply of vitamins and minerals from diets from sustainable sources 

Starting with existing high-quality data and biobanks from diverse and representative population sub-groups across Europe, and supplementing these resources with targeted studies in under-represented groups, Zero Hidden Hunger EU aims to deliver credible evidence that will empower policymakers and food system actors to devise effective food-focused strategies, eradicating micronutrient deficiencies from Europe. 

The Zero Hidden Hunger EU consortium brings together expertise from 19 organisations, including public and private sector healthcare professionals, top-tier universities and research institutes, as well as social entities such as NGOs and regional governments, to develop effective knowledge and evidence-based solutions to micronutrient deficiencies. 

 

Partners:  

  • Project coordinator: University College Cork - National University of Ireland, Cork (UCC) - Ireland  
  • UCC Academy Designated Activity Company (UCCAC) - Ireland 
  • Wageningen University (WU) - Netherlands 
  • Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (DTU) - Denmark 
  • Syddansk Universitet (SDU) - Denmark 
  • European Food Information Resource (EUROFIR) - Belgium 
  • Harokopio University (HUA) - Greece 
  • International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) - France 
  • Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) - Finland 
  • Max Rubner Institute (MRI) - Germany 
  • Consorcio Centro de Investigacion Biomedica en Red M.P. (CIBER) - Spain 
  • Institute for Medical Research and Occupational Health (IMR) - Serbia 
  • European Food Information Council (EUFIC) - Belgium 
  • European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) - Belgium 
  • Crowdhelix Limited (CHX) - Ireland 

Associated partners:

  • Swiss Nutrition and Health Foundation (SNHf) – Switzerland
  • REM Analytics SA – Switzerland
  • University of Surrey – UK
  • Quadram Institute Bioscience (QIB) - UK

 

Project coordinating Organisation: University College Cork

Joint project coordinators:

  • Kevin Cashman – K.cashman@ucc.ie
  • Mairead Kiely – m.kiely@ucc.ie

Media & communications:

Social media

  • Twitter: #ZeroHiddenHunger / @SciFoodHealth 
  • LinkedIn: #ZeroHiddenHunger / @SciFoodHealth