International Consultancy: Nutrition Composition and Ingredient Assessment for Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF) Consultancy, 2 months, Remote

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UNICEF - United Nations Children's Fund

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DK Home-based; Copenhagen (Denmark)

Application deadline 2 months ago: Thursday 17 Nov 2022 at 22:55 UTC

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UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential.

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The development of RUTF along with the adoption of Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) have greatly increased the effectiveness and efficiency of therapeutic care for children with severe wasting. Over the last four years, UNICEF helped provide life-saving therapeutic feeding to 3.5 million children with SAM and procured an average of 49 000 metric tons (MT) of RUTF.1 Despite high procurement volumes, UNICEF still only covers less than one quarter of the global estimated number of children suffering from severe wasting. One of the ways to reach more children with this life saving product is to provide a more cost-effective formulation.

Currently, most of the RUTF procured by UNICEF is based on peanuts, sugar, milk powder (providing 50% of protein), oil and a vitamin/mineral premix.

As the major global buyer of RUTF, UNICEF has initiated several public tendering activities to stimulate the current supplier base to incorporate alternatives to peanuts in the RUTF formula with an aim to reduce the product cost. RUTF is procured using public funding, and in the spirit of transparency UNICEF holds tender meetings and supply forums to share information and encourage innovative solutions to optimizing RUTF. Other actors have developed tools and conducted scientific studies assessing new formulations without peanuts. 2 Other initiatives have looked at formulations without milk protein, reduced dosing of RUTF and locally based recipes.

Purpose: The major cost driver of RUTF are the raw materials, suppliers may be able to obtain further price efficiencies by offering products with different ingredients, and thus better able to manage commodity market volatility that impact the finished goods price UNICEF is paying. The activities of the assignment require an analysis of the ingredients used in previous tender offers assessing the nutritional profile of each of the ingredients in table 1. The assignment includes reviewing the existing work performed to date on the nutritional composition of the ingredients listed, specifically comparing the macronutrient profiles of protein and the relative amino acid breakdown and essential fatty acid contribution of ingredients (n3 and n6). It will utilize protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) requirements most recently provided by the FAO expert report and the UNICEF PDCAAS calculator to assess protein sources. The nutrient profile of each ingredient should be provided, and specific nutrients that are in abundance should also be mentioned as important source of this nutrient / phytochemical (eg green banana pulp, phytosterols) if deemed relevant for wasting treatment.

In a secondary analysis, anti-nutrient factors relevant for the ingredients that would be included in RUTF (eg roasted chick peas, soy flour, roasted peanuts) should also be mentioned and their relative impact on the nutrient absorption post processing. This part of the assessment will also summarize testing data previously collected on alternative RUTF formulae.

The output of this work will inform the larger “Alternative Ingredients for Malnutrition” (AIM) project that will be testing different alternative recipes of RUTF for acceptability and efficacy.

NB: Recipes and will be provided as additional information.

Ingredients to be included in the assessment

Chickpeas, Mung beans, Sesame, Wheat/semolina, Corn/maize, Oat, Sorghum, Yellow pea, Lentils, Ground peanut, peanut powder/flour and peanut paste. Soy powder/flour and soy protein isolate. Skim milk powder, Millet, Rice, Sunflower seeds, Whey powder Fish (Siamese mud carp), Sugar, Refined vegetable oils, Eggs (chicken and duck), Vanilla, Desiccated coconut and Green banana pulp (fresh and dried).

The research report will respond to questions such as:

  1. What is the comparative quality of protein using the PDCASS of all alternative vegetable protein sources? Output: report includes a description of the PDCAAS / protein contributions of ingredients. PDCAAS values of ingredients are also represented in table format.
  2. What are the limiting amino acids common to the alternative sources? Output: report includes a description of the limiting amino acids of protein sources. Limiting amino acids values of ingredients are also represented in table format.
  3. What is the comparison of the protein quality (using PDCAAS) of the example formulae provided in Annex 1 compared to the ‘standard’ peanut version? Which amino acids are the limiting the formulae to reach the PDCAAS value required in the UNICEF specification? Output: report includes a description of the amino acid profiles of vegetable protein sources compared to skim milk powder (SMP), whey powder and peanuts. Amino acid comparison is also represented in table format.
  4. What contribution of n-3 and n-6 does the ingredient make to the RUTF specified requirement in percentage? Output: description of the n-3 and n-6 contribution of each ingredient as a percentage of the RUTF specified level. Additional representation in chart format. (Using UNICEF’s existing report on EFAs)
  5. What are the recommended ingredients in terms of nutritional profile for the RUTF supplier base ranked from first to last? Output: recommendation and ranking of ingredients considering the requirements of the UNICEF nutritional specification from the list provided in report format. Ranking presented in tabular format.
  6. Out of the alternative formulae submitted in tender exercises and being investigated by country offices (COs), which formulae offer the most potential nutritionally, how do they compare with the ‘standard’ RUTF? Output: recommendation and ranking of alternative formulae considering the requirements of the UNICEF nutritional specification from the list provided in report format. Ranking presented in tabular format.

Report format:

  • Scientific review format, including table and graphs as applicable
  • No of pages: 20-30 A4, Ariel font size 10
  • Publication of the work in a scientific journal may be pursued and is a condition of the consultancy that UNICEF can publish the report or a consolidated version of the report.

How can you make a difference?

  • Methodology and report structure developed.
  • Review of existing selected papers and references.
  • Literature review/ database assessment to complete the sourcing of references for the nutritional assessment.
  • Description and analysis of nutritional attributes for each ingredient.
  • Methodology developed for ranking of ingredients (eg limiting amino acids, n-3 / n-6 source).
  • Ranking of ingredients in tabular format; graphical display of comparison of each ingredient to comparators.
  • Cultural, sustainability and regional considerations of ingredients.
  • Finalization of the report, conclusions and recommendations (include a conclusion regarding the alternative formulation recipes submitted and being investigated by UNICEF COs).
  • UNICEF review.
  • Editing and refining.

To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…

Education: Advanced university degree in Nutrition, Food Science or other relevant discipline within the food sciences area.

Work Experience: Experience with writing scientific papers in academic scientific English is essential.

Professional work experience in food safety, food science or related field such as in formulation or nutritional assessment. Specific expertise in proteins or amino acids within plant food sources is highly desirable. Academic experience within nutrition is also relevant.

Language: Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another official UN language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish) or a local language is an asset.

Technical Competencies and Expertise:

  • Knowledge of Codex standards, product specifications development, methods used in nutritional food testing.
  • Ability to critically analyze information such as product quality test reports and peer review literature
  • Knowledge and understanding of Community based management of acute malnutrition (CMAM) programs is an advantage.
  • Must be experienced in writing scientific papers.

Qualified candidates are requested to submit:

  1. Cover letter/application addressing how you meet the requirements of the assignment.
  2. Financial quote at a daily rate in US Dollars excluding all taxes.
  3. CV.
  4. At least one example of previous, relevant work.
  5. Brief proposal on how to accomplish the consultancy. (1/2page is sufficient).
  6. 3 References.
  7. P 11 form (which can be downloaded from our website at

    For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF's values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, Accountability, and Sustainability (CRITAS).

To view our competency framework, please visit here.

UNICEF is here to serve the world’s most disadvantaged children and our global workforce must reflect the diversity of those children. The UNICEF family is committed to include everyone, irrespective of their race/ethnicity, age, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, socio-economic background, or any other personal characteristic.

UNICEF offers reasonable accommodation for consultants/individual contractors with disabilities. This may include, for example, accessible software, travel assistance for missions or personal attendants. We encourage you to disclose your disability during your application in case you need reasonable accommodation during the selection process and afterwards in your assignment.

UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNICEF, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination. UNICEF also adheres to strict child safeguarding principles. All selected candidates will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles and will therefore undergo rigorous reference and background checks. Background checks will include the verification of academic credential(s) and employment history. Selected candidates may be required to provide additional information to conduct a background check.


Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.

Individuals engaged under a consultancy or individual contract will not be considered “staff members” under the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations and UNICEF’s policies and procedures, and will not be entitled to benefits provided therein (such as leave entitlements and medical insurance coverage). Their conditions of service will be governed by their contract and the General Conditions of Contracts for the Services of Consultants and Individual Contractors. Consultants and individual contractors are responsible for determining their tax liabilities and for the payment of any taxes and/or duties, in accordance with local or other applicable laws.

The selected candidate is solely responsible to ensure that the visa (applicable) and health insurance required to perform the duties of the contract are valid for the entire period of the contract. Selected candidates are subject to confirmation of fully-vaccinated status against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) with a World Health Organization (WHO)-endorsed vaccine, which must be met prior to taking up the assignment. It does not apply to consultants who will work remotely and are not expected to work on or visit UNICEF premises, programme delivery locations or directly interact with communities UNICEF works with, nor to travel to perform functions for UNICEF for the duration of their consultancy contracts.

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