People often wonder it means when they see “enriched wheat flour” on nutrition labels. Discover the meaning of Enrichment and Fortification.
Enrichment means nutrients that were lost during the milling process are added back into the grain product. White flour is enriched to add back the vitamins and minerals that were lost when the outer hull (bran & germ) of the wheat kernel is removed during the milling process. Milling allows for improved shelf life and a finer texture for various baking applications. Typical nutrients restored through enrichment include iron, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, and thiamin. Many baked products and other grain-based foods use a mixture of both whole and enriched grains.
Fortification is the process of adding nutrients into an ingredient or food that were not previously present, or at higher levels than were present originally. Fortification was originally instituted in the United States as a public health initiative to help combat nutrient deficiencies in the population. The policy of fortifying with folic acid to flour has contributed to the reduction of the number of infants born with neural tube defects.